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Nevadan at work: Exec travels globe, helps companies widen their worlds17 March 2008
By Howard Stutz
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- This profile should be renamed "Nevadan at Work Who Doesn't Work in Nevada."
Jonathan Galaviz isn't spending much time in Las Vegas. He estimates his work-related travels have taken him some 300,000 miles by air -- roughly 12 times around the world.
Galaviz is a partner in Las Vegas-based Globalysis Ltd., a research and consulting firm that advises tourism and travel companies on doing business internationally. Galaviz works with businesses specializing in gaming, real estate, airlines and hotels.
During 2007, he made dozens of trips to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and several points in between. Galaviz has visited most of the Asian gaming destinations, including Macau and Singapore, and potential emerging markets, such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand.
He first traveled to Asia as a student in 1997, when he spent a semester studying at the National University of Singapore through an exchange program.
"It was during the Asian financial crisis and I was studying finance at the time," Galaviz said. "It gave me an opportunity to see Asia firsthand, experiencing both the economic growth and the extreme downside of an economic downturn."
Galaviz moved to Las Vegas in 2001 to work for Mandalay Resort Group. The job as a senior project analyst put him in the middle of the gaming industry's initial moves outside of the United States. He said the gaming industry's overseas expansion works twofold: Casino companies can expand their revenue while establishing a base for attracting international customers.
"One of the best ways for the United States to counteract the negative aspects of a softening economy is to do everything possible to encourage inbound tourism visitation from foreign countries into key tourism destinations such as Las Vegas," Galaviz said. "When Las Vegas-based firms expand overseas it indirectly benefits Las Vegas because high-quality research and development jobs are created in Las Vegas to support those international efforts."
Galaviz believes international expansion and gaining a foothold in the international marketplace is important for all industries, but particularly gaming and tourism. In 2007, gaming revenues in Macau surpassed $10.3 billion. Galaviz said other Asian markets want to emulate the Chinese casino enclave while gaming company executives believe Asia holds endless potential.
Question: How does Globalysis help American businesses expand into foreign markets?
Answer: We work with clients in analyzing the viability of new markets and we help executives understand culturally the new market they are entering, which is a critical piece. We also look at particular local partners who would be excellent joint-venture partners for our clients. We'll assist in the decision-making process. We did some work for Harrah's Entertainment and assisted them early on in an Asia strategy. We've also done work for real estate developers in Singapore.
Question: Why is Las Vegas a good base for Globalysis?
Answer: For leisure travel, Las Vegas is the most competitive, unique and valuable asset we have in the United States. Being in Las Vegas allows us to be connected to the latest innovations, ideas and techniques in Las Vegas. There is a unique competitiveness here and in many ways, Las Vegas is a living case study that can be used as a model for the best practices within the industry.
Question: Is the world shrinking?
Answer: I would think so as it relates to tourism, the travel industry and the airlines. Tourism can be used to generate cultural exchange between countries. A year ago, you never would have spoken about Americans visiting Dubai. Now, that's the new destination because Americans are fascinated by the unique opportunities over there.
Global visitation, whether it's inbound or outbound travel, airline connectivity, and the actual building of infrastructure that caters to foreign inbound tourists, is making the world smaller.
Question: How are the Asian markets different?
Answer: Americans tend to lump Asia together as one part of the world. The dynamics of Vietnam are different versus the dynamics of Japan, which is different from the dynamics of Korea. Culturally there are some common fundamental values that are shared by almost every single country in Asia.
The governments, policies and strategies are all different. This is why we see places like Singapore be very aggressive in enhancing its tourism sector. Others are more relaxed. Macau has heightened investment to where billions of dollars are being invested by primarily Las Vegas gaming operators.
Question: Which country will be the next Macau?
Answer: A lot of the Asian markets are looking at the Singapore process, which involved having large, integrated resorts where gaming is just an aspect of the entire project. (Globalysis was) involved with assisting Singapore in understanding Las Vegas and integrated resorts.
The Singapore selection process was transparent and ethical. Others should follow that path. I think Japan will eventually use Singapore's model and approach. Korea and Vietnam are looking at Singapore's strategy.
Question: As Macau grows, will Americans begin visiting Macau?
Answer: Because of the publicity Macau is receiving in the United States, I think the answer will be yes. Americans are getting more familiar with Macau. Five years ago, no one ever heard of Macau. Americans are often drawn to other parts of the world just to see what the excitement is all about.
Question: What industries besides gaming have growth potential in Asia?
Answer: U.S. business models are being expanded into other parts of the world. Air Asia, which is essentially Asia's largest and newest low-cost carrier, has taken its cue from Southwest Airlines. Low-cost airlines and budget carriers are very critical to growing tourism. Las Vegas wouldn't be the way it is today without Southwest and other low-cost airlines.
In the context of Asia, I believe we are seeing just the first large phase of the development of these transportation business models. Asia is taking pages of the U.S. way of doing things, but developing them in their own unique way.
Question: Do you have a favorite destination in Asia?
Answer: While there isn't gaming, I still love Thailand. It's one of the best tourism destinations. Most international tourists who have visited Thailand come home talking about the cosmopolitan nature of the country, the beautiful beaches and the excitement of Bangkok.
Question: What is your current travel schedule?
Answer: Right now, I probably spend about 80 percent of my time on the road in Asia or Europe. Las Vegas is my home. Las Vegas is a tremendous place for creativity.
I'm surprised all the time by the new developments. We attract tourists from around the world and provide customers with a unique and memorable experience. That's what a lot of places I visit want to create.
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