New Direct Flight Connection to Beijing Provides Las Vegas with the Opportunity to Boost its Numbers of Chinese Visitors
- Posted by Christopher Ledsham
- On 5th August 2016
- direct flights, gambling, USA, visas
Following many years of planning and negotiation, December 2016 will finally see the opening of a direct flight connection between Las Vegas and China. The service, to be operated by Hainan Airlines, will see three Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights per week between Beijing and Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. The new route will be Hainan’s eighth direct service between China and the United States.
The opening will come at a good time for the Nevada city; while the gambling and entertainment hub attracted a record 42 million visitors last year, Las Vegas’ number of international tourists declined by three percent, a pattern that continued in the first quarter of 2016. Numbering approximately 6.7 million, overseas guests made up as little as 16 percent of total visitors and only 170,000 of these were Chinese.
However, in light of the United States’ introduction of ten-year multiple entry visas for Chinese nationals in 2014, Hainan’s new direct flights should help boost these arrival figures. Furthermore, since passengers from China will no longer have to transfer via other airports, Las Vegas can also expect its Chinese guests to increase the average duration of their visits to the city.
On account of the ongoing effects of the Beijing government’s anti-corruption crackdown increasing numbers of Chinese outbound tourists are looking to travel further for gambling at the expensive of Macau, which saw a year-on-year drop in mainland arrivals of four percent in 2015 and a slight 0,55 percent drop in the first half of 2016.
While Las Vegas is, after Macau, the world’s second largest gambling destination by revenue, it will face competition for Chinese outbound tourists from a number of countries in China’s region that have flourished as gaming hubs in recent years. The opening of two luxury casinos in Singapore in 2010, for example, has seen it become a significant regional draw for Chinese outbound travellers, who have been credited with fuelling the country’s tourism boom in recent years, while countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are also seeing large numbers of Chinese gamers taking advantage of their lower levels of regulation.
Given that, even with the new direct connection, Las Vegas will still be a twelve hour flight from Beijing, the local tourism authority will have to carefully develop its strategy if it wishes to maximise its position within the Chinese outbound market if it wishes to compete with its South-East Asian rivals.
It will be important to recognise that, while Chinese gamblers can fly to Singapore for a weekend at any time of year, those looking to visit Las Vegas would be more likely to travel during Chinese holiday periods.
Nevertheless, Las Vegas carries a high level of prestige as a gambling destination that will attract the higher end of the Chinese outbound travel market. Such travellers, however, will be looking for more “adventure”-based experiences when overseas and will need to be marketed to accordingly. If this is done correctly, however, it should be possible to attract high numbers of repeat visitors looking to make the most of their ten-year renewable US visas.
COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute provides expert insights into the worldwide developments of China’s outbound tourism market. As Chinese outbound tourists are travelling to a large range of destinations, our publications cover a number of different regions. Important Chinese visitor activities are analysed, and detailed insights are presented.
With COTRI’s insights you can create a successful business strategy with in-depth market insights, comprehensive qualitative analyses, and future prospects. The recently published Spring 2016 Edition of the COTRI Market Report features in-depth analysis of the developing trends in Chinese outbound tourism, supported by a wealth of qualitative and quantitative statistical research.