This year, McCarran International Airport has seen a considerable increase in passenger traffic. However, not everyone who arrive at the hectic Southern Nevada airport are staying in Las Vegas.

Almost 47.3 million passengers have arrived and departed through McCarran International through November. That’s a 3.4 percent year-to-date gain, or 1.5 million extra travelers.

Domestic and international traffic both has increased – 3.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively. Although domestic travel still is the reason behind the vast majority of passengers (42.7 million), airport and Las Vegas tourism officials are more interested on the international guest.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Vice President of Marketing Fletch Brunelle told the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

“International travelers tend to stay longer and spend more money. Continuously adding nonstop routes that make access to Las Vegas as convenient as possible is incredibly important.”

As reported by, a total of 3.5 million international passengers have come or gone through McCarran through 11 months in 2019. That’s approximately 600,000 more than the same 11 months in 2018.

Exiting Las Vegas

Though visitor arrivals have risen at McCarran, statistics from the LVCVA show not everyone is staying in Sin City. Las Vegas year-to-date visitor amount stands at 39 million people, a minor 0.5 percent premium on 2018.

It should be noted that McCarran’s passenger traffic includes travelers who are making stopovers at the airport. Low-cost carrier Southwest accounts for nearly 34 percent of all McCarran passengers. McCarran is one of the airline’s main hubs, and used for many connecting routes.

However, the numbers speak for themselves: of the 47.3 million people to arrive or depart at the city’s commercial airport, 8.3 million didn’t stay in Las Vegas. That’s why airport passenger traffic isn’t a solid indicator of gross gaming revenue (GGR).

Casino win on the Las Vegas Strip has dropped 0.5 percent to $6.5 billion over the last 12 months.

Internationals Needed

Travelers coming from outside the US spend more than local guests, according to Brunelle.

Brunelle explained,

“The average spend per international visitor per trip is $960, while the domestic counterpart to that number is $790. We currently welcome more than 44,000 nonstop international seats each week from 24 cities in 10 countries, and adding nonstop international flights is key to growing that lucrative visitor segment.”

In 2019, McCarran added nonstop flights from Paris, Amsterdam, Israel, Germany, and Mexico. In 2016, Hainan Airlines began nonstop service from Beijing. Bookings were so robust that last year the carrier added flights.

Currently American Airlines is in the process of getting airport slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to offer nonstop service from the Tokyo capital to Las Vegas.

McCarran Chief Marketing Officer Chris Jones said recently,

“The travel industry drives the economy in this town. Having flights, being able to get here conveniently, particularly from new destinations inside or outside the United States, is a great way to make sure we fill the hotel rooms.”