Las Vegas Tourism Officials Focused on Adding Direct Flights From Japan

Posted on: August 10, 2023, 03:12h. 

Last updated on: August 10, 2023, 12:22h.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) remains focused on attracting a global airliner to commit to providing direct service from Japan to Southern Nevada’s Harry Reid International Airport.

Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport LVCVA
An airplane on descent to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. Tourism officials in Southern Nevada hope to expand direct air service to Japan in the coming years. (Image: Shutterstock)

The LVCVA is a state agency charged with promoting Las Vegas as a premier destination for leisure and business. LVCVA Chair Steve Hill said during a board meeting this week that the Las Vegas tourism and convention marketing arm wants to add direct service to and from Japan.

Hill says demand typically doubles when nonstop flights from an international city are added. Currently, a flight from Tokyo to Las Vegas requires at least one connection. With casino projects progressing at a snail’s pace in Japan, Las Vegas officials are hoping to lure the country’s high rollers to Nevada.

We had gotten to the point where we were very close to being able to announce a direct flight to Tokyo just before the pandemic happened,” Hill said on Tuesday. “The pandemic eliminated that possibility for a while.”

“We are in conversations with airlines that could provide that direct service. We think that will happen over the next couple of years,” Hill added.

There are several possible suitors to fly direct from Tokyo to Nevada, LVCVA officials said. Fletch Brunelle, vice president of marketing at the LVCVA, said United, All Nippon Airways, and Japan Airlines could consider adding such nonstop service to Harry Reid.

International Demand

Harry Reid International is fresh off its best year in terms of passenger traffic. Nearly 52.7 million passengers were accommodated through Las Vegas’ primary air hub, a 2.2% increase from the airport’s previous record of 51.5 million passengers experienced in 2019.

Airport officials say domestic demand fueled last year’s record performance. International traffic totaled a little more than 2.5 million passengers, which was about 1.3 million fewer travelers arriving from or departing to foreign destinations than what the airport managed in 2019.

A recent review of Harry Reid International’s operations conducted by aviation consultancy Ailevon Pacific projected that the airport will reach a new passenger traffic record this year, and might soon outgrow its current capacity levels. Joel Van Over, senior director at Ailevon Pacific, said Las Vegas’ airport has recovered from the pandemic faster than any other major airport in the world.

The airport formerly known as McCarran is currently offering 161 direct routes from 25 airliners. Both are all-time highs for the facility.

Baccarat Bounce

The ongoing return of international visitors can be tracked by monitoring gaming revenue generated by baccarat, the preferred game of choice among the majority of high rollers from Asia. Nevada casinos won a record $14.84 billion last year, and baccarat continued to improve from its pandemic lows.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) from baccarat tables in Nevada last year totaled about $1.17 billion. That represented a 25% improvement on the game’s 2021 win, and nearly double the $604.3 million that the banker-player game won during pandemic-stricken 2020.

Baccarat’s all-time best year in Nevada came in 2018 when the tables won more than $1.2 billion.