Luca Finocchio and Chiara Missaglia, both of New York, recently travelled to Las Vegas for a quick two-day holiday, fully vaccinated and fully aware of the hazards posed by the coronavirus delta form.
“We are at ease, but we are aware that others are still getting sick, so we are still wearing masks everywhere we go,” Missaglia explained. “I didn’t travel at all during the pandemic, and I didn’t travel again until this summer.”
With the more contagious delta form on the rise, there are disturbing signals that airline reservations are dropping and more individuals are canceling trips. This could be problematic for tourist destinations such as Las Vegas, which was particularly heavily struck early in the pandemic.
According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 11, Southwest Airlines, the busiest airline at McCarran Las Vegas Airport, is anticipating a slowdown. In August, the company experienced a “deceleration in close-in bookings and an increase in close-in trip cancellations,” according to the company.
According to the airline, the development is “believed to be driven by the recent rise of COVID-19 instances related with the delta variant.”
Any pause in the recovery of Las Vegas might be a stumbling block. Southwest has up to 200 daily departures from McCarran International Airport.
Just over 1.4 million passengers traveled through TSA checkpoints at U.S. airports on Tuesday, the lowest daily number since May 18.
The data for August passenger volume at the Las Vegas airport will not be released until next month. McCarran reported roughly 4.1 million incoming and departing passengers in July, down 8% from the pre-pandemic high of 4.5 million in July 2019.
Last year, air traffic in Las Vegas came to a virtual halt when Strip establishments were ordered to close from mid-March to June 4 to curb the spread of the virus. Around 153,000 passengers passed through McCarran in April 2020, the lowest number for any month throughout the pandemic.
Travel experts have noticed a decreased trend in air travel in recent weeks, according to Tori Emerson Barnes, a spokeswoman for the United States Travel Association.
“As a result of the delta variant, we’re seeing several domestic leisure travelers postpone their visits for the next few months. “That is a source of concern,” Barnes stated. “Right now, we’re heavily reliant on domestic leisure travel.”
“As an industry, we aggressively encourage people to get vaccinated. “We believe that is the most effective method to return to a more normal environment,” she explained.
According to Barnes, the association is also keeping an eye on business travel. She estimates that the sector will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 or 2025, according to the association.
“With business meetings and events, we’re urging folks not to backslide,” Barnes added. “Business meetings and foreign travel, which account for 40% to 60% of hotel and airline revenue, are two critical cornerstones of the travel industry.”
The International Pizza Expo and Conference, which took place earlier this month at the Las Vegas Convention Center, is one of the many gatherings that have resumed in Las Vegas. However, in the wake of the convention industry’s near-complete shutdown in early 2020, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has yet to resume recording convention attendance.
According to the most recent numbers available from the LVCVA, just over 3.3 million tourists visited Las Vegas in July, down 10% from July 2019.
According to the authority, roughly 16.8 million people visited Las Vegas in the first six months of this year. In 2019, nearly 42 million people visited Las Vegas, but because to the epidemic, that number fell to 19 million in 2020.