- - Tuesday, May 1, 2012

NEW YORK — How do you sell Times Square and the Grand Canyon? The Carolinas and California?

Residents of Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom are getting a taste Tuesday of the United States’ first-ever marketing campaign to try and stave off declining tourism.

The print, Web and video ads released Tuesday were created by Brand USA, a partnership of government agencies and private companies. The consortium was developed to act like the tourism ministries of countries such as Ireland, Italy or Israel.

It’s the first time that the U.S. has marketed itself as a tourist destination to people living in other countries.

While tourism has increased globally over the last decade, the U.S. slice of those travelers has fallen, owing in large part to complicated visa procedures and heightened security that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 10 years after the attacks are often referred to as the “lost decade” for U.S. tourism, because new procedures drove millions of international travelers to other countries.


Owners get funding to reopen Sahara

LAS VEGAS — The owners of the shuttered Sahara casino on an aging stretch of the Las Vegas Strip say they’ve secured $300 million in funding to redevelop the iconic resort that once hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

Developer SBE and real estate firm Stockbridge Capital Group LLC said Tuesday they plan to open the property in 2014 under the name SLS Las Vegas.

“We see the northern end of the Strip as the future of Las Vegas, and we’re pleased to be positioned at the forefront of that growth,” said SBE CEO Sam Nazarian.

Owners say the resort will bring restaurants, nightlife and 1,600 guestrooms and suites to the Strip’s north end, which includes the famed Stratosphere but has seen far less of the glitzy development that’s re-energized the south end in the past decade.

The corridor went even darker in May 2011, when owners closed the Sahara after saying it wasn’t economically viable. The casino featured a signature roller coaster and had operated for nearly 59 years.

Mr. Nazarian said construction could begin by the end of the summer.


Arch Coal earnings slide on weak market

ST. LOUIS — Arch Coal Inc. said Tuesday that “severe weakness” in the U.S. market for coal used to generate electricity cut sharply into its first-quarter earnings and forced it to curtail production for the year.

The St. Louis-based company’s results fell well short of Wall Street’s expectations, and shares fell in pre-market trading.

In the January-March quarter, Arch Coal’s net income totaled $1.2 million, or a penny a share, compared with $55.6 million, or 34 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue was $1.04 billion, up 19 percent from $872.9 million in the 2011 quarter.

After excluding certain one-time items, Arch reported an adjusted loss of $0.04 per diluted share in the recent quarter.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected 16 cents per share on revenue of $1.12 billion.

Arch Coal blamed the lower earnings on a U.S. market that appears unsettled, at least for now. The mild winter reduced demand for electricity and heating, which helped push down natural-gas prices. A number of power plants have switched to gas from coal to generate power, resulting in what Arch called “unprecedented” stockpiles that reduced demand.


Union workers strike at Caterpillar plant

JOLIET — About 800 union workers who rejected Caterpillar Inc.’s latest contract offer walked off the job Tuesday at a plant in Joliet.

Workers with picket signs lined up outside the plant early Tuesday, just hours after their contract expired. The employees, part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, are asking for better wages and health care. They voted Sunday to reject the Peoria-based company’s latest contract offer.

“About 94 percent of the members voted against it,” Steve Jones, who is business manager for union’s Lodge 851, told the Journal-Star newspaper in Peoria.

Production at the plant, which makes hydraulics and other components for mining trucks, tractors and other machines, won’t be disrupted, the company said in a statement. The plant has about 1,200 other employees who are not affected by the contract negotiations.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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