Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Las Vegas to Benefit From US Lifting International COVID-19 Testing

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Posted on: June 10, 2022, 09:28h. 

Last updated on: June 10, 2022, 11:14h.

Las Vegas is expected to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the United States deciding to lift its COVID-19 testing requirement for international travelers.

Las Vegas COVID-19 testing Biden international flights
A traveler at Los Angeles International Airport undergoes a nasal swab COVID-19 test on November 23, 2020. The US government is lifting its COVID-19 test necessity for international travelers. Las Vegas expects to soon see an influx of foreigners as a result. (Image: AP)

Today, the Biden administration announced that effective Sunday, June 12 at 12:01 am EDT, people seeking to travel to the US via air will no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 test to board their airplane. Federal officials say the decision comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that such testing is no longer necessary.

Las Vegas, which is thriving on lingering pent-up domestic demand, will likely see the return of another key demo — the Asian high-roller segment. International travel at Harry Reid International Airport remained down 80% last year.

The end of testing requirements for inbound US travelers is very welcome news for the travel industry, and international travelers who may have been hesitant to visit the US in favor of other destinations where testing wasn’t a requirement,” Lindsey Roeschke, Morning Consult travel and hospitality analyst, noted to Casino.org.

Roeschke explained that domestic travel is far outpacing international in terms of recovery. Recent polling has found that nearly 4 in 10 Americans say testing requirements make them less willing to travel internationally. Travel experts believe the US testing policies have kept some foreigners away in 2021 and this year.

Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas casino executives and gaming analysts predicted a rush of activity among domestic gamblers in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic’s most oppressive times. That proposition came true, as Nevada casinos are experiencing unprecedented play.

Nevada isn’t alone. Several other states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio, report record gaming action.

Nevada is the nation’s richest gaming state. Casinos there have won more than $1 billion in each of the previous 14 months.

Las Vegas and the Strip saw a noticeable increase in visitation in April after a federal judge repealed the Biden administration’s mask mandate on airplanes, buses, and trains. With international guests now able to fly to Southern Nevada without having to take a test, businesses should only further improve.

“I’m glad the CDC suspended the burdensome coronavirus testing requirement for international travelers, and I’ll continue to do all I can to support the strong recovery of our hospitality industry,” said Nevada Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.

Visitor Volume Remains Down

Las Vegas casinos are reporting record gaming numbers. But overall visitor volume in the world’s most famous gaming town remains suppressed from pre-pandemic 2019. However, rates continue to trend towards a full recovery.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), visitor volume in January ’22 was 27% below the same month in 2019. But in April, the gap was partially bridged to only a 5% shortfall from April 2019.

In 2019, the LVCVA said foreigners accounted for approximately 14% of the 42.5 million people who visited the city that year. The international segment tends to spend more on entertainment and dining and gambles more, too, as they stay in town longer.

Overseas guests stayed an average of 4.2 nights in Las Vegas in 2019. Domestic guests averaged 3.4 nights.

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