Las Vegas Welcomes Back International Travelers in July
Las Vegas welcomed more foreign travelers through its Harry Reid International Airport in July than Sin City has in any other month since COVID-19 arrived in Southern Nevada in early 2020.
The Clark County Department of Aviation, which owns and operates Harry Reid International, issued a release Monday on the bustling July traffic. Airport officials relayed that the facility accommodated nearly 4.94 million passengers last month, the airport’s third-best month on record. Only October 2022 and May 2023 recorded higher passenger volumes.
July 2023, however, was the best month since the pandemic in terms of international traffic. More than 290,500 foreign travelers arrived and departed the airport known as McCarran until February 2021.
The international haul represented a 13.5% year-over-year improvement. July continued the return of foreign guests to Southern Nevada as international traffic is up 41% year to date.
Domestic travel climbed 1% to approximately 4.57 million travelers. Southwest Airlines remains the dominant carrier as the budget airline accounts for nearly 1.9 million passengers. Domestic travel is up 12.5% from January through July.
The remaining passenger traffic in July was generated by helicopters and private jets.
Nevada casinos are winning more money off gamblers than ever before. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) hit a new high last year at $14.84 billion. That easily bested the state’s previous best gaming year of $13.4 billion set in 2021.
The odds are good that 2023 will be yet another banner year. Through June, Nevada casinos are 3.6% ahead of 2022 in terms of GGR.
The continued return of international travelers, specifically those from Asia, is expected to further grow gaming revenue. While slot win and revenue from most table games continue to expand, baccarat hold has been flat compared with pre-pandemic 2019. Baccarat is the game of choice for many high rollers from Asia.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board is expected to release its July revenue report on Wednesday. Baccarat should show an increase, with more foreigners in town last month, assuming the houses didn’t experience a poor win rate on the card game.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is focused on increasing foreign visitation to Southern Nevada. LVCVA Chair Steve Hill said earlier this month an ongoing mission has been to establish direct air service to Japan.
Hill said negotiations were close to being finalized to offer a direct flight from Tokyo to Las Vegas before the pandemic hit. Hill says those talks have since resumed, but didn’t specify which, if any, airline might be willing to bet on a Las Vegas via Tokyo route.
International travelers are coveted guests in Las Vegas. They tend to stay longer, gamble more, and spend more on retail shopping and dining than domestic guests.
In 2022, Toronto was Las Vegas’ top international feeder airport, with about 198K passengers. London was next at 176K passengers, and Mexico City was third at 170K travelers.
Flights from China’s Beijing remained on hold in 2022 for a third consecutive year. Flights to the Chinese capital to and from Las Vegas only resumed this month.
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