Harry Reid Airport Could Benefit Increased China Travel

By | January 16, 2023

China recently relaxed its zero-COVID policy, which could pave the way for more travel by that country’s tourists to the US.

Harry Reid Airport
A terminal at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. Increased travel from China could boost the airport. (Image: Eater Las Vegas)

Domestic airports, including Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport, could see pandemic recovery efforts bolstered by a renewed influx of flights from China.

China’s underlying travel demand is diverse, and the reopening underway is expected to benefit both business and leisure travel,” noted Fitch Ratings in a recent report. “This combined demand should be a growth catalyst to large hub airports with sizable business and international travel segments and whose air traffic recovery has previously lagged domestic-focused, regional airports reliant on leisure travel.”

Increased travel to Las Vegas by Chinese tourists could be crucial for Strip operators this year against the backdrop of a looming recession in the US. Economic contraction in the US would likely compel consumers to rein in discretionary and, potentially, cancel trips to casinos.

How Harry Reid Airport Can Get China Boost

When it comes to China flights, Harry Reid International Airport isn’t considered a gateway airport comparable to Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

Airports in those cities offer travelers direct flights to and from Chinese cities — in some instances daily or, at the very least, several times weekly. China-originating flights to Las Vegas typically involve a stop or two and the potential for fliers to change airlines. Fortunately for Harry Reid International and casino operators, many of those flights stop in Los Angeles and San Francisco, meaning what’s good for those airports can benefit Las Vegas, too.

“Before the pandemic, China travel typically represented just a low to mid-single-digit percent of gateway airports’ respective total passenger levels. Still, the growth potential is strong given the building economic ties and leisure-oriented demand,” added Fitch.

In addition to China, other Asia-Pacific countries with citizens that frequent Las Vegas include Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. A recovery in flight volumes from those nations could also be a boon for Harry Reid International as well as Strip operators.

Strip Operators Cater to Chinese Visitors

If there’s one country outside the US that Las Vegas casino operators cater to, it’s China. Owing to established footprints in Macau, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts are among the Strip operators that stand to benefit from a fresh influx of Chinese tourists.

Proving their devotion to Chinese bettors, MGM’s famed conservatory at the Bellagio has a dedicated year of the rabbit exhibit for Chinese New Year while Wynn began decorating its atrium today in a rabbit theme and that will run through mid-February.

Other Strip venues, including MGM’s Aria, multiple Caesars Entertainment properties and Resorts World, are planning year of the rabbit festivities and decorations. Several off-Strip casinos are planning similar offerings, indicating Las Vegas is doing all it can to woo Chinese visitors back to the US gaming center.

 

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