International tourists flock to Vegas for Pacquiao-Marquez fight
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
The tourism rush is on this weekend with two major events in town.
In addition to the cowboys and cowgirls in town for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR), a sellout crowd is expected for the fourth battle between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
The fight on Saturday night is bringing fans from all over the world, heavily tipped toward Pacquiao fans from the Philippines.
The MGM Grand expects about 16,000 fight fans will pack the Grand Garden Arena with about 75 percent of the crowd backing Pacquiao.
Fans began gathering at 2 a.m. on Friday to catch a glimpse of the star fighter at the weigh-in.
Fan Americo Canque had never been to America before. He hopped on a plane from the Philippines to see his idol.
"All the Filipino people in the Philippines are very proud of him. I took the opportunity to come here to see this fight," he said.
Canque expects to spend about $6,000 during his one-week stay in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) said the last Pacquiao-Marquez fight drew 15,000 visitors, bringing in about $10 million in non-gaming revenue.
"Keep in mind those figures I gave you don't even include those who came here to watch it (the fight) at a friend's house or who came here to watch it on closed circuit (television) or at a bar," said LVCVA spokesperson Hetty Chang.
Because international tourists tend to stay longer and spend more, they're a big target of the LVCVA.
"We've really identified that as a key growth market. Right now they account for 16 percent of all visitors. We want to grow that to 30 percent in the next decade," Chang said.
In addition to all the people in town to see the fight, about 175,000 are here for NFR.
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