Dozens of international flights still missing from McCarran Airport
The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place when recovering from COVID-19 in southern Nevada, with the exception of one really important segment: international travel.
McCarran International Airport Aviation Director Rosemary Vassiliadis last week made sure to explain to federal government officials that tourism, especially in Las Vegas, is incomplete without this element.
Much of the resolution to halt international travel is beyond the control of the United States, but Vassiliadis, in his testimony before the Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion subcommittee headed by Senator Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Explained why it is essential to keep working on it.
Attracting national customers seems to be on the right track.
Tours from California continue to be impressive, so much so that they have resurrected an old traffic jam problem on Interstate 15 for visitors on their return trip. Infrastructure improvements, whether it be additional I-15 tracks, high-speed trains, or conventional Amtrak service, are at least in the discussion stages.
Southern Nevada resorts have been successful in keeping their room rates high, and while that’s not the kind of news consumers like to hear, it’s important for companies rehiring workers. Some stations are so confident in the rebound that they are reinstating parking fees, another cost consumers won’t be crazy about, but a positive sign for the rebound.
However, the international component is lagging behind.
We love international visitors because they tend to stay longer and buy more when they are here. The higher revenues from the games are often attributed to the international mix – learn about the game of baccarat – and many conventions and trade shows, which are also on the mend, depend on delegations from foreign countries. About 15 percent of the 175,000 CES delegates come from abroad.
During his appearance before the subcommittee, Vassiliadis said international flights came only from Mexico. Before the pandemic, there were flights from 11 foreign countries. A real killer seems to have been the lack of flights from Canada, where thousands of snowbirds travel to Las Vegas from the cold Canadian country every year. Now that it’s almost summer, there must be another reminder about the importance of traffic to the city.
“In the first four months of 2021, our international volume amounted to less than 80,000 passengers,” Vassiliadis told the subcommittee. “However, there is hope on the horizon. Almost every week, I or members of my team hear representatives of international airlines express their interest in quickly resuming flights to Las Vegas. “
Before the coronavirus took hold, international tours hit 3.8 million passengers in 2019. It is imperative to get back to this level before southern Nevada can be considered fully recovered.
Vassiliadis has come up with some ideas in the hopes that international travel can be recouped for the 2021 summer travel season.
Reuters reported last week that the Biden administration was considering several strategies to get foreign tourists back but had made no decision.
The news agency said European Union countries agreed on Wednesday to ease COVID-19-related travel restrictions for non-European visitors ahead of the summer tourist season, a move that could open the door for everyone. the British and Americans vaccinated.
The ambassadors of the 27 EU countries approved on 3 May a proposal from the European Commission aimed at relaxing the criteria for determining “safe” countries and allowing fully vaccinated tourists from elsewhere to enter.
A coalition of travel groups, airlines, unions, businesses and airports in the United States and Europe has called for a complete reopening of the air travel market between the United States and the United Kingdom ” as soon as possible ”- and it is hoped that the two governments will lift the restrictions soon. June.
Greater advocacy to resolve the international dilemma is needed to get a full recovery safely back on track.
The city’s tourist economy depends on it.