Destinations

Las Vegas likes foreign visitors because they spend much more than domestic ones

Jul 11, 2012 1:53 am

Skift Take

With the average foreign visitor likely to spend nearly triple on everything, the local tourism and convention board wants to nearly double its foreign influx to 30% of the city’s total.

— Jason Clampet

Free Report: The State of Student Travel

Source: Las Vegas Sun
Author: Richard N. Velotta

Southern Nevada has always known that foreign tourism is lucrative. But how lucrative?

Applied Analysis principal Jeremy Aguero cited examples for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board of directors Tuesday, quantifying what most experts have believed all along.

Aguero said there were 6.2 million people who visited Las Vegas from foreign countries in 2011 — roughly one visitor in six. Yet $1 of every $4 spent by tourists in Las Vegas was by a foreign visitor and $1 of every $3 spent in nongaming purchases was by an international traveler.

Aguero said the average domestic traveler spends $590 while in Las Vegas, compared with $1,146 by foreign travelers — a 94 percent premium. When it comes to shopping, domestic visitors spend an average of $99, while international visitors spend $291 — a 194 percent premium.

“I’m very optimistic about what the 2012 numbers will show because of all the growth we’ve experienced with international routes,” Aguero said. “If you look at some of our competitors, they’re trying to replicate the Las Vegas experience, but there’s only one Las Vegas.”

Several companies in Macau are building a strip of casino-resorts. The so-called “Cotai Strip” in Macau is known as “Asia’s Las Vegas.” Las Vegas Sands, which runs the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas, operates a major integrated resort in Singapore called the Marina Bay Sands.

Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the LVCVA, said the organization established a goal of attracting 30 percent of its visitors from foreign countries by 2020. Currently, the number is about 16 percent. But Ralenkotter said there has been a dramatic increase in the number of seats arriving from overseas markets in recent years, including new flights by ArkeFly from Amsterdam, Air Berlin from Dusseldorf and Copa Airlines from Panama City in the last two months.

In May, the LVCVA approved two-year contracts for offices representing Las Vegas overseas. The strategically placed offices give the city direct touch to 45 countries.

Ralenkotter said that while 70 percent of foreign visitors are from three countries — Canada, Mexico and Great Britain — the LVCVA hopes to make progress within the so-called BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China, which have emerging middle-class economies with pent-up travel demand.

“We need to keep punching this bag until it falls off,” said Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross, an LVCVA board member. 

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