Las Vegas Casinos Looking For International Tourists

The Las Vegas casino industry is looking to attract more visitors from overseas, as only 18% of the city’s 37.3 million tourists in 2010 travelled from other countries to spend time in the Sin City, according to

The actual number of foreign visitors improved from the previous year’s total of 14%, but the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has set a goal of 30% international visitors.

“I think that’s doable,” said Seyhmus Baloglu, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor and assistant dean for research and international programs.

Baloglu has taught courses on destination marketing since 1997 at UNLV and has seen international tourism rates steadily climb over time. Even cities who compete with Las Vegas for visitors believe that Las Vegas has a chance to attract more tourists from abroad.

“I think it’s an admirable goal,” said Gary Sain, the CEO of Visit Orlando, a tourism board in Orlando, Fla. “There’s no reason they couldn’t reach their goal.”

If you’re wondering why Las Vegas casinos would care where their visitors come from, as long as they do come, the answer is all about numbers. More specifically, dollars. The average overseas tourist to Las Vegas spends approximately $1,011 per stay and stays in the city more than four days on each trip. Domestic tourists spend $645 on average per visit and tend to stay only three days.

Of course, if some tourists travel to Las Vegas with gambling as the primary reason for their visit, those gamblers now have more choices to stay home and gamble with online casino games of every conceivable type available on the internet. Favorite games such as roulette, blackjack, slots and poker are all readily available with the click of a mouse. Even players who prefer Macintosh computers can enjoy online gambling via Windows emulators that allow gamblers to play online casino games such as Mac blackjack, slots and roulette.

But for those who would like to enjoy a vacation and perhaps a show or two along with their gambling pleasures, Las Vegas will happily accept you. One of the problems facing Las Vegas in reaching its goal of 30% international visitors is that nearly 70% of the city’s overseas visitors come from Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. Las Vegas tourism authorities will need to find ways to draw traffic from other areas of the globe to stand any chance of attaining the tourists from abroad that they seek.

Another problem in attracting foreign tourists is the sometimes burdensome bureaucratic red tape in obtaining visas from consulates and embassies that often prevent foreigners from even coming to any destination in America at all. Las Vegas authorities are lobbying for modifications to the U.S. Department of State’s visa waiver program, which permits some international travelers from specific countries to enter America without securing a visa. Currently, the citizens of 36 different countries who meet the established requirements are eligible to come to the U.S. for business or tourism for up to 90 days.

Considering the fact that 95% of the global population resides outside of America, it makes sense to try and attract more of the market from international destinations.

“We know there’s a tremendous amount of potential demand out there,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The odds are, Las Vegas casinos will find a way to meet their goal and entertain more visitors from abroad.