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European visitors return as international flights resume in Las Vegas

Posted at 8:28 PM, Nov 08, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The first transoceanic international flights back into McCarran International Airport landed Monday, ending an unprecedented travel ban lasting more than a year and a half.

But this is a moment to celebrate for two reasons — one: the economic impact of nearly $5 billion.

And two: this is a milestone in putting the pandemic behind us.

“Let me just say we have waited 20 months for this date,” said Rosemary Vassiliadis, director of aviation at McCarran International Airport.

After sitting on an 11-hour flight all the way from London, it is a safe bet to assume they have all got a similar agenda.

“Relaxing,” said Andrew Allison from Scotland. “Relaxing, yeah. And forgetting all the worry about getting here and getting vaccines and getting forms and getting to the airport.”

And for so many of our new guests, this re-opening has reunited families.

“Very different. Exciting, so exciting,” said Rosemary Allison from Scotland. “Here to see our sons who live in Vegas.”

“We’ve been doing video calls every week for the last almost two years,” said their son, Scott Allison. “And we saw mom and dad just before the pandemic lockdown — literally like the month before, and we’ve been talking to them in video ever since.”

It is a new world, requiring new, vaccine-related steps to travel, but it is just a matter of planning.

“Make sure you get plenty of time to organize everything,” said Andrew. “Get the right jabs and get the right tests at the right time. Make sure you know all the things you have to have and get them in order in good time.”

MORE: Las Vegas business reacts to lifting of travel restrictions for international travelers

Additionally, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says international travelers to Las Vegas make up about 15% of overall visitation and spend on average 50 to 60 percent more money than domestic visitors. They also stay slightly longer.

“People like to come to Vegas,” said Vassiliadis. “They’ve been waiting for Vegas and, as we’ve been saying, right about now? Everyone needs Vegas.”

Virgin will have four flights a week and British Airways will have daily flights from London starting next week.