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Gaming Guru

Richard N. Velotta

Brazilian travel blogger impressed with Las Vegas

29 September 2015

It's no wonder that Ana Maria Junqueira liked Caesars Palace, The Venetian Las Vegas and Bellagio so much when she visited Las Vegas last week.

They reminded her of her favorite place in the world, Rome, where she lived for a year before she began a career as a writer.

Now, Junqueira is a full-time travel blogger and travel consultant on her website,, spinning tales about her globetrotting adventures for her thousands of social media followers in Brazil.

Junqueira recently wrapped up a 10-day road trip to the American Southwest where she visited San Diego, wine country in Temecula, Calif., Joshua Tree National Park, the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Flagstaff, Ariz., and, of course, Las Vegas.

The trip was sponsored, in part, by Brand USA, the public-private partnership created through the 2010 Travel Promotions Act.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., had a key role in the passage of the law, which establishes a mechanism through which fees paid by international travelers are used to match donations put up by travel companies nationwide to create marketing and advertising programs to encourage travel to the United States.

The Brand USA program is modeled after the successful tourism-driving strategies established by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Brand USA's beginnings were led by Las Vegans, and the LVCVA and the Nevada Commission on Tourism have been supportive of its mission since it was founded.

While Las Vegas is among dozens of U.S. destinations in Brand USA ads that are placed abroad to encourage U.S. visitation, the Southwest Landscapes Road Trip was one of the first Brand USA projects to directly boost Las Vegas.

In addition to placing ads, Brand USA carefully selects travel influencers to assist on trips with the hope that they write about their destinations and encourage their readers to make similar travels.

Brazil is now one of the top five international markets for the U.S. and it's also been on Las Vegas' radar for several years. Visitation from Brazil to the United States increased 10 percent last year.

LVCVA research supports that international travelers stay longer and spend more when they arrive, making them a lucrative market to pursue. The authority has a goal of expanding the current 21% of visitors being international to 30% by 2020.

Junqueira said she was impressed with Las Vegas for many of the same reasons millions of tourists enjoy it.

"There's so much to see and do here," she said in an interview. "Las Vegas is all about entertainment and what is here is impressive."

Junqueira is just about to publish her adventures in Las Vegas, which included a trip to the Neon Museum, a ride on the High Roller, zipping on the Fremont Street Experience "zoomline" and a viewing of the Cirque du Soleil show "Zarkana." Junqueira said she was impressed with the quality of the Las Vegas dining experience and its celebrity chefs.

Junqueira also enjoyed an experience that is extremely popular with foreign guests — a helicopter trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.

Her 45,000 blog readers, 18,000 Instagram followers and 12,000 Facebook likers will get Junqueira's perspectives as well as photos and videos from a team that is accompanied her on the trip across the Southwest.

Junqueira, who has been writing for 4½ years after spending six years as a litigator, is based in Sao Paulo.

Her blog writings about Las Vegas are about to be posted — but you'd have to be able to read Portuguese, the national language of Brazil, to understand them.

"One of the things I hope to do someday is to be able to produce the blog in other languages," Junqueira said.

And when that happens, she'll be able to influence even more travelers.