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LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas' growing popularity among international travelers is no secret, but new data garnered primarily from US Department of Commerce research suggests the international visitor market now contributes more to Las Vegas' bottom line than ever before.
The recently released figures show that international visitors made up almost a fifth (18 per cent) of total visitors in 2010, representing an increase of 17.8 per cent from 2009. These non-domestic visitors are also proving high value, generating over a quarter (27 per cent) of total tourism revenue in 2010.
The UK continues to be a major contributor to the international tourism numbers with Las Vegas experiencing an increase of a fifth in direct UK air passenger arrivals between June 2010 and May 2011. This is due to the expansion of BA's direct flight capacity in response to growing consumer demand, a trend set to continue following the introduction of Virgin Atlantic's new Manchester route in May 2011.
“International visitors are one of our identified growth markets,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “Our goal is to increase the international market share to 30 percent over the next 10 years.”
The LVCVA promotes Las Vegas globally with the help of 15 partner offices representing more than 70 countries.
Canada, Australia, Germany, France, China and South Korea each marked visitor increases of more than a fifth (20 per cent) in 2010 with the largest increase, of almost two thirds (60 per cent), coming from South Korea, a new Visa waiver country where Korean Air operates a non-stop flight to Las Vegas from Seoul.
While emerging countries still represent a modest number of Las Vegas visitors annually, visitors from China increased by almost two fifths (38 percent) in 2010, with US Department of Commerce data projecting Chinese visitors to the US will more than double (219 percent) by 2015.
“The international demand for Las Vegas demonstrates the global reach of our brand,” said Ralenkotter. “Additionally, working with McCarran International Airport, we continue to create more accessibility for the international traveller by securing more non-stop flights from key countries.”
Since April, Las Vegas has welcomed new international non-stop flights from Guadalajara, Mexico on Volaris Airlines and from Manchester, England on Virgin Atlantic Airlines. British Airways expanded the capacity of its existing non-stop flight to Las Vegas from London by almost a fifth (18 percent) and XL Airways from France re-instituted its seasonal non-stop flight to Las Vegas from Paris.
With more than 37 million total visitors in 2010, Las Vegas currently welcomes about 21,500 international passengers weekly on 144 non-stop flights from 16 foreign cities. With the addition of Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport in 2012, Las Vegas will expand its ability to accommodate even more international flight arrivals.