There’s nothing like a good comeback story and Las Vegas has come back from the pandemic stronger and more exciting than ever. In this week’s Take Five, we catch up with H. Fletch Brunelle, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to discuss the city’s ongoing recovery, this year’s most exciting new offerings, and what travel agents should keep on their radar.
How has recovery been for Las Vegas since the U.S. reopened its borders to international tourists last year?
The recovery has been strong, and we’re thrilled to welcome our international visitors back to Las Vegas. The numbers have been trending up throughout 2022, and in April, the destination welcomed nearly 3.4 million visitors, which is less than 5 percent down from April 2019. The overall hotel occupancy reached 84 percent in April with weekend occupancy exceeding 93 percent, so we can clearly see that pent-up demand for travel continues to thrive.
Is everything open in Las Vegas for tourists?
Everything from our resorts, entertainment and restaurants to sports events and attractions are fully open and ready to welcome visitors. The energy and excitement of pre-pandemic Las Vegas is back, but it might actually be even more fun to visit now because there are so many new, only-in-Vegas experiences for our guests to enjoy.
What do you want Canadians to know about health and safety in the city? How are you reassuring them that Las Vegas is a safe place to visit, post-pandemic?
Las Vegas has always been a leader in the tourism industry, adhering to extremely high standards for cleaning, sanitization and overall best practices even before the pandemic. There were also a lot of innovations that came about because of the pandemic, from creative applications of touchless technology to extremely high-quality air filtration systems, and we expect those advances will remain in place long-term in our resorts, event venues and attractions.
What are 3 of your most notable new offerings for 2022?
In 2022, Canadian travellers to Las Vegas can look forward to new resorts, increased sports and sports special events and new entertainment options. Since late 2020, three new resorts have opened: Resorts World, the first ground-up new resort on the Las Vegas Strip in more than 10 years; Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, the destination’s first Virgin property; and Circa Resort & Casino, the first ground-up new property on the Fremont Street Experience since 1980.
Earlier this year, we launched the Greatest Arena on Earth campaign because of the exhilarating growth of sports and sports special events in Las Vegas in recent years. In addition to the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, the destination is now home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, as well as a variety of other professional teams. We’re also really excited about the future of sports, with some of the world’s biggest special events, including the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix and Super Bowl LVIII set to make their debuts in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
Finally, the other side of our Greatest Arena on Earth campaign is entertainment, and Las Vegas continues to set a standard no other destination can match. We’ve continued to welcome residencies by the world’s most popular artists, including Sting, Katy Perry, Usher, Lionel Richie, John Legend and more, and Cirque du Soleil just launched its newest show, Mad Apple.
Do you have anything in the pipeline for Canadian travel agents specifically?
Las Vegas is looking at returning to Western Canada in late September and Eastern Canada in late October with our resort partners to showcase everything new in destination.
Be sure to register your bookings on our TA Connect Learn and Earn program as we will be hand-picking the top booking agents for FAMs to Las Vegas as well as several hosting opportunities in Canada, including hockey games.