Las Vegas is a city that’s no stranger to defying the imagination, so it really should come as no big surprise to hear that it’s busy building underground tunnels for driverless cars and gearing up to turn Las Vegas Boulevard into one big racing car circuit.
And that’s just a couple of the details a select group of BC agents received from David Han, senior account representative at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, during an in depth destination update at Burnaby’s Atlas Steak and Fish on Tuesday evening.
No Limits Vegas
“Vegas is open at 100% capacity,” explained Han. “There are no limits whatsoever, or any mask mandates in place, so from the minute you touch down, you’re going to feel like you’re back in 2019.”
Han, who was in Las Vegas last week to check out what’s new, explained that mask-wearing mandates were lifted back in February.
“You aren’t going to see a lot of people wearing masks, so be prepared for that. But I think the biggest takeaway from my trip is that Vegas is busy right now - everyone is out and having a good time. Our domestic numbers have fully recovered from 2019 and we expect Canadian numbers to fully recover by mid-2024.
“In terms of airlift into Las Vegas, we’re at about 50% of where we were in 2019, and this summer we’re going to get a lot of new flights and increased capacity from all the major gateways – and we’re counting on Air Canada to do more.”
That’s something that Marigold Frontuna, general manager, sales, Western Canada at Air Canada Vacations, definitely isn’t ruling out.
“I have a good feeling that we’re going to be adding more lift to Vegas because it’s an easy sell for you guys,” she explained. “I do foresee that we’re going to be increasing - most likely in the fall/winter.”
The World is Travelling
“Since the government removed PCR testing, we have seen a real spike in Vegas sales,” added Frontuna. “So even if your clients are just remotely interested in going to Vegas, they have to book in advance.
“I really want to stress about booking early. It’s no surprise to us that fuel has gone up locally, so I can assure you that it’s just a matter of time until you see that reflected in the pricing. So even if your clients are not travelling until the fall, encourage them to book now. The rooms are filling up and it’s not just Canadians that are travelling – the world is travelling!”
Hot New Resorts
The world is indeed travelling, so it’s good to hear that Las Vegas has three new resorts to welcome visitors: Circa Las Vegas (777 rooms), Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (1,500 chambers) and Resort World Las Vegas (3,400 rooms).
Highlights of the properties include a ‘Stadium Swim’ aqua-theatre featuring six pools and a sports viewing complex that’s free for guests at Circa; rooms with plenty of open space and amazing views of the Strip at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (the former site of the Hard Rock Hotel); and the largest pool area in Vegas and three resorts in one - Hilton, Conrad and Crockfords – at Resort World.
“Throughout the pandemic all the hotels in Las Vegas have not stopped working,” added Han. “Every single hotel has made major renovations, so they’re ready to welcome a new generation of travellers.”
We know that Las Vegas takes hosting world class events in its stride – but there are some seriously impressive events in the pipeline – even by Vegas standards.
In November 2022, Formula 1 will descend onto the Strip for an unforgettable race. The 3.8-mile circuit will weave past the city’s iconic casinos, hotels and landmarks. And in February 2024, the city’s new Allegiant Stadium will host Super Bowl LVIII. This is the first time Las Vegas has acted as the super-event’s host city.
Driving the Future at the Convention Center
Han also highlighted that there’s now a brand new convention hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center – a development that has led to one of the most futuristic road projects in the world.
“One thing that I like to showcase is the LVCC Loop, which is a gamechanger for Las Vegas,” enthused Han. “Right now, it’s a tunnel from one convention space to another. Instead of having people take Ubers or walk, we have built an underground tunnel where your clients can take self-driving Tesla vehicles through an underground tunnel.”
The LVCC Loop is the brainchild of Elon Musk. It operates a fleet of all-electric vehicles that provide 4,400 rides per hour.
“We are going to be expanding this into different areas of the Strip, so you’re going to see a stop at the Wynn and a stop at Resort World. Ultimately, everything will be connected through the tunnel, including the airports. That’s our plan for the next five years.”
When the ‘Vegas Loop’ is completed, it will serve 57,000 passengers per hour across 51 stations.