CASINOS SPECIAL SECTION: Q&A / HOWARD LEFKOWITZ: Vegas expert tells what to see and do

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 20, 2004

By Amanda Miller

Millions of Web visitors a year turn to for information on what's new in Sin City, from hotels and restaurants to entertainment.

Howard Lefkowitz, president of the company, was in Atlanta in May for the Interactive Media Conference & Trade Show. He also collected an Eppy Award for for best Internet shopping service with fewer than 1 million monthly visitors, though the site's monthly traffic is well past that mark now. The Eppys, awarded by Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek magazines, honor the best new media work by media companies. In a brief interview, Lefkowitz offered some tips for first-time Las Vegas tourists.

Q: What are the "don't miss" attractions for a first-time visitor? A: It depends on what track you're on. Are you a bachelor or bachelorette, into spas and dining, like golfing, want to gamble, or be with the family? There's so much to do in Vegas. You'll want to see the Bellagio fountains, catch the volcano at the Mirage, see all the free attractions. Everyone should take in some fabulous shopping, catch some of the shows. I'd do one of the phenomenal spas.

Q: How much time should you allow for a first visit? A: I'd say at least three nights and four days. Of all first-time visitors, 80 percent come again. The average visitor comes twice a year.

Q: What about the repeat visitor who hasn't been in a year or two, what's new for them? A: There are new clubs, a bunch of new restaurants, the THEhotel at Mandalay Bay is new, a lot of new shows, "StarTrek" 4-D [at the Las Vegas Hilton] is new. And there are tons of celebrity chefs fresh on the scene. So many things have changed in the last year . . . it's really a good idea for people to consult by category or use a keyword search to learn more about the latest things and coming attractions.

Q: Marketing for Las Vegas has shifted from promoting family vacations back to the original Sin City theme ("What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"). Can families still find a lot to do? A: There's definitely plenty for families -- lots of magicians, like Lance Burton, the Amazing Jonathan; there's M&M's World, GameWorks, the indoor theme park at Circus Circus. Planet Hollywood Hotel is about to reopen. There are tons of roller coasters. Then you have all the places just outside the city, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead.

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