The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has approved reopening foreign travel offices to encourage foreigners to travel to Las Vegas. The offices are located in Canada, Germany, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
The LVCVA will spend $2.5 million a year on international marketing of Las Vegas over the next three years, KVVU, a local TV station, reported. The move comes as this weekend is the first full weekend foreigners do not need a negative COVID-19 test to fly into the US. The requirement was lifted on June 12.
Las Vegas is now getting about 80% of the foreign airline passenger volume seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, KVVU said. International travel represents about 13% of travel to Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, he said.
We have to make sure we’re fighting for those visitors. You can’t take it for granted they’ll come,” Naft told the TV station. “They account for more dollars spent, more destinations visited, and longer times staying here.”
Also, repealing the testing requirement could bring an additional 5.4 million visitors to the US and an additional $9 billion in travel spending through the remainder of 2022, according to study conducted by Morning Consult for the U.S. Travel Association, an industry group.
Industry Backs Lifting of Test
“The lifting of this requirement will enable the industry to lead the way toward a broader U.S. economic and jobs recovery,” Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement. He called the move “another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States.”
Another industry group, Airlines for America, also backed the move. A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio said in a statement that it will benefit US communities “that rely heavily on travel and tourism to support their local economies.”
Last month, international air travel to the US was 24% below 2019 levels before the pandemic, according to Airlines for America data cited by the Associated Press.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra stated ending the testing requirement became possible “because of the progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19.” Last month, he tested positive for the virus.
Brett Snyder, a travel consultant who writes for CrankyFlier.com, said the US testing requirement led some would-be foreign travelers to postpone taking a flight to the US.
It’s not that they are afraid of getting sick, they don’t want to get stuck,” Snyder was quoted by the AP. The lifting of the requirement may lead to a surge in the number of foreign travelers heading to the US, he predicts.
US Pilot Shortage
The requirement ends, as several US airlines are facing a pilot shortage. There have been delayed and cancelled flights recently among US airlines.
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