Las Vegas Tourism Agency Boosts CEO’s Salary to Almost $400K

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Steve Hill will make almost $400,000 a year when his 4 percent pay raise kicks in this fall.

Steve Hill of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority gestures during a speaking engagement. Hill was named the tourism agency’s CEO in 2018. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The LVCVA board of directors on Tuesday unanimously approved a $15,292 a year pay raise for Hill, bringing his annual salary to $397,590. The increase is set to occur when the tourism agency’s employees transition from their current four-day workweek to a five-day schedule. This is expected to take place in September, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Hill was named the LVCVA chief executive officer in September 2018. He previously served as director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development under Gov. Brian Sandoval (R).

On Tuesday, the board approved a salary increase for LVCVA legal counsel Caroline Bateman. Her annual pay is going up 3.5 percent, from $198,765 to $205,722. 

The compensation committee is slated to meet later this year to decide on a bonus for Hill and other LVCVA executives, the newspaper reported. 

LVCVA employees are also in line to receive merit pay increases in September of 2 to 4 percent.

Tourism Uptick

Hill and his staff are tasked with promoting the area globally and bringing visitors to the city. He did not receive a pay raise last year when the coronavirus pandemic flattened the Las Vegas economy. Some resorts on the Strip closed their hotel towers during the middle of the week last year because of low consumer demand.

With the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and stimulus checks, visitor volume in Las Vegas has increased. However, tourism totals are below pre-pandemic levels and are not expected to match those higher levels until international travelers and conventioneers return to the Las Vegas Valley. 

As part of its effort to attract conventions, the LVCVA recently unveiled its $1 billion Convention Center West Hall and Tesla underground people-mover system. The first major convention in the US since the March 2020 onset of the pandemic took place last month at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Some critics say the LVCVA attempts to sidestep responsibility when tourism falters. 

“It seems like in bad times, they shrug their shoulders and blame the economy,” Ted Newkirk, founder of Access Vegas, recently tweeted. “In good times, they take all the credit.”

I-15 Traffic Woes

One of Hill’s goals for the 2022 fiscal year is to help develop solutions to the Interstate 15 traffic jams that frustrate visitors returning to Southern California. That problem has contributed to a reduction in the average number of visits that Southern Californians make to Las Vegas, a tourism official said.

To alleviate this problem, a private rail company is proposing to build a high-speed train linking Las Vegas to Apple Valley, Calif., about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. The Apple Valley terminal ultimately will be linked by various extensions to Los Angeles.

Construction on the 200 mph train is expected to begin in 2022. The Las Vegas terminal station will be near the Strip, south of McCarran International Airport.

Larry Henry

Gaming Regulation, Crime, Politics — Larry Henry is a veteran print and broadcast journalist who spent more than 16 years in Nevada, including serving as legislative reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal and as political editor at the Las Vegas Sun. He's also written about popular culture for the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. As a broadcast journalist, he worked as managing editor at KFSM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Arkansas, where he now lives and where casino growth is a hot topic. A Marine Corps veteran and LSU graduate, he is also an avid movie fan, especially of classic film noir from the 1940s and ’50s.

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