Las Vegas is going all out to speed up the return of tourists and the hosting of large conventions as the US Centers for Disease Control say it’s safe for those vaccinated to travel by air
By SiGMA US correspondent Buck Wargo
Travel to Las Vegas made a strong comeback last month when the US state expanded casino capacity to 50%, and the good weather greeted tourists for spring break and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
People are already driving to Las Vegas from California and the Southwest in greater numbers, but the return of air travel and sense of safety from COVID-19 augur well for the coming months.
While in February, only 1.6 million people travelled through McCarran International Airport - a 58% decrease on February 2020 - airlines have been expanding routes to Las Vegas this spring in expectation of larger demand.
Meanwhile, last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though discouraging non-essential travel, gave its green-light to fly, saying it’s safe for fully vaccinated people as long as they wear masks and socially distance.
At the same time, Nevada’s gaming regulators said they will relax restrictions on casinos once their employees are vaccinated.
Strip casinos are now rushing to vaccinate their employees
Casino consultant Josh Swissman, founding partner of the Strategy Organization, said the travel numbers “seem like they’re through the roof” with the highest pandemic-era travel figures over the Easter holiday and spring break.
“I think all of that bodes well for Las Vegas,” Swissman said.
Anything to get capacity percentages up and more people to feel more comfortable traveling I am a fan of as long as it’s safe. All these things feel like good solid momentum building, and I hope they continue to drive guests to the Strip. The guidance for safe travel from the CDC should make a lot of people feel better. Along with the rapid rollout of vaccines with four million shots a day nationwide, those are the biggest confidence builders and visitation builders.
Casinos are already gearing up for conventions with the latest rules allowing up to 500 people divided into groups of 250.
The Sands Expo and Convention Center, which is located at the Venetian and Palazzo casino properties, announced last week that it has introduced a health pass that uses mobile technology that verifies the identity of a person and links their health information, including vaccinations and negative COVID-19 tests.
REVIV Global announced the launch of a HELIIX Health Passport mobile app in Las Vegas to help with the return of the hospitality, convention, sports and live event industry. Fan attendance at sporting events and shows is starting to return, although at a reduced level.
The passport can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or a vaccination prior to entering an event. The company offers testing at the MGM Grand, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and the Venetian casinos on the Strip that can be used for entry prior to any event or nightclub.
So far, more than 60 million Americans are fully vaccinated and tens of millions more have had at least one shot.
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