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Las Vegas tourism board invests in international travel comeback

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 7:37 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - International air travel to the entertainment capital of the world has recovered to about 80%, according to County Commissioner Michael Naft.

“We have to make sure we’re fighting for those visitors. You can’t take it for granted they’ll come,” Naft said.

This week the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board voted to bring back pre-pandemic investments into international marketing. They reopened offices in Canada, England, Germany and Mexico. The investment is more than $2.5 million annually over the next three years.

“Our international travel accounts for about 13% of travel to Clark County. They account for more dollars spent, more destinations visited, and longer times staying here,” Naft said.

UNLV Hospitality professor Amanda Belarmino said it’s an important investment.

“We may lose some domestic travel to people that now feel comfortable traveling internationally instead of coming here so there may be a tradeoff. We don’t know,” Belarmino said.

Naft said competing for major events is key to the international comeback.

“That’s why we fought so hard to get the Formula One race that’s coming up in about 16 months from now,” Naft said.

It’s the summer travel season and new data shows that Las Vegas has had the biggest comeback of any airport in the country. LAS has seen the highest total number of airplane seats added since 2019 in the United States, according to the Official Aviation Guide.

“Escapism from all the things that we’ve all had to go through the last couple years is really what has brought Vegas back as the dominant destination for vacation,” Belarmino said.

The successful air travel comes as Americans deal with inflation.

“What we may see this summer is people are still coming, but they’re not spending as much,” Belarmino said.

This is the first week international travelers haven’t had to receive a negative COVID-19 test to come to destinations in the U.S. like Las Vegas.