Inaugural Accent West Conference Makes Waves in Nevada

Activities, Magazine Features

Tourism conference draws a big crowd

Delegates from around the United States and Canada converged on the banks of the Colorado River in Laughlin, Nevada last week to take part in the inaugural Accent West Tourism Conference.

Produced by Mid-Atlantic Receptive Services (MARS) and hosted by Visit Laughlin and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the conference was designed to better acquaint tour operators with destinations, hotels, attractions, and restaurants in the Southwestern United States. Speakers, brainstorming, itinerary planning, networking activities, a trade show and local area touring were among the activities offered to delegates.

Big business is done in small groups – and Accent West was the perfect example. Delegates got to know each other while discovering the cultural and historical treasures of the Southwest. Relationship-building and the sharing of best practices are what makes the Accent brand so popular.

Delegates enjoyed the Early-Bird Reception, sponsored by the 2024 Accent West Host, Explore Branson. The next day, Rafael Villanueva, managing director of Beyond Global Solutions discussed “Defining YOUR New Reality and Moving Forward.” Everyone knows what we have been through the past couple of years, and it’s easy to get stuck there.  But it is important to move forward and adapt to the new normal. A panel of industry professionals followed, giving practical advice on the same topic.

A trade show matched operators with all the different suppliers preceded a lunch, sponsored by the Las Vegas Territory. Then, operators took what they learned at the trade show, brainstormed with suppliers, and produced actual itineraries on-site. The day concluded aboard the New Grand Celebration luxury yacht for a dinner cruise on the Colorado River, sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Travel Nevada.

The next day began with the Koffee Klatch. During the trade show, partners had the opportunity to schedule Koffee Klatch meetings with those they needed to get additional information from or finalize bookings. The conference concluded with the sharing of itineraries and best practices.

Delegates from around the United States and Canada converged on the banks of the Colorado River in Laughlin, Nevada last week to take part in the inaugural Accent West Tourism Conference. 

“The best conference I’ve ever attended”

“We had a fantastic experience at Accent West 2023,” said Carol Edwards from the SIX Show in Branson. “We especially enjoyed the group exercises. It gave us insight into each other’s challenges and ways for us all to improve. The keynote speaker was terrific, informative with just enough humor to make it relatable. The beautiful and fun excursion made us want to come back to Laughlin and experience more. This was the best conference I’ve ever attended.”

Prior to the conference, operators explored Southern Nevada by air (helicopter); water (raft and luxury yacht), train (Nevada State Railroad Museum) and motorcoach. The energetic group enjoyed the hospitality of Las Vegas, Boulder City and Laughlin. The FAM began with a hosted lunch and a tour of LaQuinta Airport hotel followed by a tour of the Mob Museum, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to advance the public understanding of organized crime’s history and impact on American society. An authentic view of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas to the back alleys of American cities was portrayed.

Next, the group checked into the Gold Coast for two nights. The Gold Coast offers true local hospitality. In addition to its comfortable guest rooms, restaurants, entertainment and live-action casino, the Gold Coast also boasts a state-of-the-art fitness center and a 70-lane bowling center. And there is plenty of motorcoach parking.

A delicious and plentiful dinner was enjoyed at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant followed by dessert – Kicked-Up Lemonade and Banana Pudding – at Virgil’s Real BBQ. The evening concluded with a Maverick helicopter tour over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.

Few cities can rival Las Vegas as a popular destination for groups and group conferences.

The ride of a lifetime

The next day, a stop was made at Hash House A-Go-Go for a hearty breakfast before experiencing FlyOver Las Vegas. Everyone buckled in for the ride of a lifetime, feeling the magic of flight through immersive, state-of-the-art technology allowing for dips, dives, and glides over awe-inspiring landscapes.

The Golden Nugget, located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas treated everyone to a delicious lunch and Js Travel Consultants provided a walking tour of downtown, ending at the Container Park, an open-air shopping center filled with boutique retail shops, unique restaurants, and live entertainment. A cocktail reception followed on the roof-top bar, 60 stories up, at Circa Las Vegas.

The evening concluded with an interactive dinner show “Marriage Can Be Murder.” The comedy slayed the group with a dash of intrigue, mixed in shenanigans, and to top off the wacky evening, a suspect hiding among the guests.

The next morning, Treasure Island hosted breakfast and a stop was made at Senor Frog’s, located in Treasure Island. The Hoover Dam Rafting Postcard Tour was next on the agenda. Everyone viewed the dam, as they journeyed just far enough downriver to feel the canyon’s surreal setting. An overview tour of historic Boulder City followed and the FAM concluded with a “Best of Boulder City Box Lunch,” with several local restaurants each contributing one of their specialties, enjoyed aboard the historic train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

Future Accent Travel Conference dates are as follows:

5th Annual Accent East – November 28-30, 2023 – Beaufort SC

2nd Annual Accent West – May 10-12, 2024 – Branson MO

6th Annual Accent East – November 12-14, 2024 – Traverse City MI

Registration information is available online at  For more information, contact Sue Arko at  or 602-999-5749.

For information on other popular conferences, you can subscribe to Leisure Group Travel for FREE

Latest Traveling Tribes Podcast

Featured Activity

Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium

Situated in the heart of Missouri, the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium captivates visitors with a diverse array of creatures from land and sea. From the intriguing depths of the Sobela Ocean Aquarium, home to over 8,000 marine species, to the expansive grounds showcasing wildlife from across continents, it’s a celebration of nature’s marvels. A must-visit destination for a comprehensive zoological experience.

Download Latest Issue

Recent from Activities

Excellent Aquatic Adventures in Great Rivers Country

Excellent Aquatic Adventures in Great Rivers Country

Hit the Rapids & Hike the Bluffs in this picturesque part of Illinois Few destinations in the Midwest can rival the beauty of Illinois’ Great Rivers Country. This picturesque region is named for the Mississippi and Illinois rivers that carve through its rolling...

Beyond the Bean: Things To Do in Chicago and Beyond

Beyond the Bean: Things To Do in Chicago and Beyond

Unleash your inner explorer in the Chicagoland area Chicago, and its surrounding cities, offers something for everyone in your group. History buffs can delve into museums, nature enthusiasts can explore parks and gardens, foodies can indulge in diverse cuisines and...

Subscribe for Free