Las Vegas might be best-known as the gambling capital of the United States, a place where many Americans escape for a truly worry-free vacation. Sin City is also a highly popular destination on the global tourism scene. But foreign guests — which resorts rely heavily on throughout the year — haven’t been able to visit since the onset of the pandemic.
Southern Nevada received great news this week, with President Joe Biden’s administration announcing the easing of entry protocols into the country for foreign travelers. Beginning in November, vaccinated non-citizens will be able to travel to the United States so long as they undergo a COVID-19 test and receive a negative result within three days of departure.
They must show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a US-bound airplane,” explained Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus coordinator.
“Nearly six billion shots have been administered globally, and dozens of countries have strong vaccination rates. Vaccines continue to show that they’re highly effective, including against the delta variant,” Zients added.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will determine which vaccines qualify for travel to the states.
After a year of being forced to stay at home and avoid nonessential travel, millions of Americans, once permitted, opted for Southern Nevada to celebrate some sense of a return to normal. That pent-up demand stateside kept Las Vegas bustling throughout the summer.
As a result, Nevada casinos reported record gross gaming revenue in July. The state’s casinos won $1.36 billion from gamblers that month, the highest monthly mark since the first legal casino bet was wagered in Nevada back in 1931.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) reports that visitor volume grew from a little less than 1.3 million travelers in January of 2021, to more than 3.3 million travelers in July.
Data for August has not yet been released. But as schools return to in-classroom learning and many businesses require workers to return physically to the office, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Las Vegas visitor volumes taper off from July. Opening up international travel will help keep Las Vegas bustling.
“Today marks an important turning point in the recovery of international visitation essential to Las Vegas’ tourism industry,” declared LVCVA CEO Steve Hill.
Prior to the pandemic, international travelers in 2019 accounted for 14 percent of all visitors arriving in Las Vegas.
Not Only Leisure Travels
Hill’s LVCVA, which is responsible for promoting Southern Nevada and keeping Las Vegas’ more than 145,000 hotel rooms occupied throughout the year, says the international travel news will help return convention business, too.
This milestone is significant and welcome news for many of our major tradeshows and conventions that draw exhibitors and attendees from around the world,” Hill explained.
Returning foreign travel, plus conventions, will ideally result in Las Vegas casinos continuing to hire in the months ahead. Nevada remains holding the unwanted title of having the highest unemployment rate in the country.
“In terms of domestic air, we are back to where we were. International travel has been a huge missing component,” Chris Jones, chief marketing officer for McCarran International, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
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