Las Vegas tourism officials are targeting a 10% lift in air services to the city over the next year and a half as a result of showcasing the destination at World Routes this week.
This year's World Routes marks the first time the global event has been co-hosted by a tourism authority, alongside an airport, and Rossi Ralenkotter, president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, sees it delivering a big lift to the city's growth aspirations. “This has been part of a strategy to allow us to showcase Las Vegas," he says.
"We continue to reinvent the destination. If you haven’t been in the last five years, you have to come back to see it. It allows us to be competitive in the international market place. We have the demand side of it to fill those planes and allow them to be profitable," he says.
The city will attract around 40 million visitors this year, generating revenues of around $40 billion, and it is expecting to further develop its tourism capacity. "During the recession we’ve had $26 billion of investment to expand and give us more rooms," says Ralenkotter. "One of the things that is crucial is 43% of our visitors fly to our destination – that’s 17 million people, so we need to make sure we have enough lift."
He says that 17% of visitors to Las Vegas are international. "We have made commitments to get that to 30%. The best way to sell Las Vegas is to let people see it. Over the next 12-15 months we will see increased services both domestic and international.
"We have 200 international flights a week and our objective is to increase this. We will have a lot of appointments with Asian and South American carriers, as we’d like to do another 10% over the next 15 months."
Vice-president commercial of Routes Nigel Mayes, citing examples such as China Southern starting Vancouver flights and Jet2 services to Berlin, points to a track record of World Routes' hosts securing new services from the event. “There are lots of examples where you bring the airline to see the market and it really makes a difference and hopefully brings new services," he says.