WORLD ROUTES: Tourism Through The Skies – The Grand Canyon - PHOTOS and VIDEO

Las Vegas is the most populous city in the US state of Nevada and the county seat of Clark County. It is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining, and nightlife and is the leading financial and cultural centre for Southern Nevada. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its consolidated casino–hotels and associated entertainment.

There are around 150,000 hotel rooms to fill every night in Las Vegas, but it is more than just the entertainment and Casinos that bring visitors to Sin City. Ahead of the formal opening of World Routes, The HUB joined local media and industry press to learn more about what the local environment offers visitors and took to the skies of Nevada to see first-hand one of the natural wonders of the world.

It is difficult to get away from the gambling undertone in Las Vegas, after all the Terminal buildings at McCarran International Airport are full of slot machines, a lucrative ancillary income for the airport, according to executives. Although this revenue has fallen from a peak of $40 million to around $20 million currently, it is an income that enables the carrier to maintain aviation charges at lower rates. However, not everybody in Vegas works in the entertainment industry and lives in hotels as many believe and it is home to a population of almost two million, ranking it just outside the top 30 most populous cities in the US.

Cultural diversity is evident all along the world-famous Strip, with attractions representing the far corners of the globe - from the deserts of Egypt to Monte Carlo, from Paris to Venice, from the wonders of the South Seas to the skyline of New York City. But diversity doesn't stop there. It's also reflected in the rich history of Southern Nevada and its residents. The dynamic multicultural lifestyle of Las Vegas, far from the mystique of the Strip, helps contribute to the destination's uniqueness and appeal.

When visitors are not winning in the casino, lounging by the pool or savoring delicious cuisine, they still find that Las Vegas has a variety of must-see attractions and entertainment options to keep the whole family occupied. From thrilling roller coasters to virtual-reality simulator rides and erupting volcanoes to wax museums, Las Vegas' attractions appeal to people of all ages, interests and budgets.

But, just a short distance away from the bustle of the Strip, the landscape changes. Rugged mountains, red rock canyons and deep desert valleys offer stunning scenery and a myriad of outdoor recreational opportunities. You can learn a lot about the local environment from the skies and a popular excursion for visitors is to take a flight over the area and across to the western end of the Grand Canyon either by helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft.

The Grand Canyon in western Arizona lies approximately 300 miles (480 kilometers) or a one-hour flight from Las Vegas. Over millions of years, the Colorado River carved this natural wonder that is one mile deep and 277 miles long. Sightseeing air tours and ground tours of the Grand Canyon depart Las Vegas daily for half-day, full-day and overnight excursions.

The HUB’s editor, Richard Maslen, joined Airline Business editor, Max Kingsley-Jones, Airline Business Daily editor, Graham Dunn and Exhibition City News’ editor and assistant editor, Zeenath Haniff and Kristian Obeng, on a Scenic Airlines Bombardier DHC-6 Vistaliner (a modified Twin Otter with larger windows) flight for Grand Canyon Airlines, believed to be the world's oldest, most experienced air tour company in continuous operation since 1927. It was an amazing experience as the photographs, above, and video, below, from our flight testify.

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…