WORLD ROUTES: Las Vegas Aims to Boost International Arrivals

Las Vegas is aiming to boost its international visitor numbers from 17 per cent to 30 per cent in the next ten years and plans to expand its representation in overseas markets. Rossi Ranlenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) said new air services would play a central role in this strategy.

In an interview after formally launching this year’s World Routes event at McCarran International Airport, he added that $5 billion is currently being ploughed into new attractions and hotels in the city. “There will be delegates at the World Routes conference who may not have been to Las Vegas at all, or who may not have been for 10 or 15 years, this is a whole new experience for them,” he said.

While repeat visitors are a vital market, attracting new, first-time tourists from international markets is also a top priority. “We looked at our markets of the future and there are three markets for Las Vegas, special events, conventions and meetings and international. We have 150,000 rooms today and that is going to go to at least 160,000 in the next ten years. The more rooms you have, the more visitors you need to drive to the marketplace,” Ralenkotter told The HUB.

“Currently, our international arrivals are at 17 per cent primarily from the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico, there is a tremendous amount of pent up demand out there and we need to go out there and bring it in,” he added.

Asia is a priority growth region, Ralenkotter said, citing Australia and New Zealand in particular. The LVCVA will also focus on the South American markets following the success of the Copa Airlines flight, as well as the BRIC countries. Copa Airlines has already significantly boosted frequencies between Las Vegas and its Panama City hub, with particularly strong demand onward to markets across South America, especially Brazil.

According to Ralenkotter, 93 per cent of the city’s international tourists fly on international carriers, meaning additional air service will be vital to reaching its international visitor target. And as new services are added, there are plans to support these with sales and PR offices in new markets. “As we look to see where we get new airline service then we will look and say ‘OK, that probably warrants us having an office presence in that country’,” he said.

While billions are currently being spent in the city on new tourism attractions, the tourism head pointed out that $26 billion was invested in new projects during the recession years.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…