Reno Is A Popular Destination For Asians

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A national travel association survey has found that the Reno area is the eighth most popular destination for Asian-American travelers.

Las Vegas is No. 1.

The two Nevada cities are ranked ahead of Seattle and Chicago for a share of the Asian-American tourism dollar, according to the Travel Industry Association of America.

"We are delighted that Reno is on that list," said Bruce Bommarito, executive director of the Nevada Commission on Tourism and a travel association board member.

He credited gambling for part of the draw, but said Asian-Americans also like Old West tourism such as that offered by Virginia City.

Paul Byi, director of Asian gaming at the Silver Legacy Casino Resort in downtown Reno and a Chinese-American, said catering to the Asian community has been paying off since the resort opened in 1995.

"What we do, what we provide, are popular with Asians because they know they'll be taken care of," Byi said. "We treat them like family."

For example, his and other downtown properties are observing the Chinese new year with an 8-day celebration starting Thursday.

Special Chinese buffets, concerts and a "Chinatown Grand Avenue" retail bazaar on the Silver Legacy's casino floor are among the events geared toward Chinese-Americans, the largest group of Asians who regularly visit Reno.

The downtown properties also co-sponsor the annual Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco, complete with a "Downtown Reno Welcomes You" banner over the main parade route and a float.

After Las Vegas and before Reno, other top travel destinations for Asian-Americans were Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Orange County, Calif., Washington D.C. and Houston.