The U.S. Department of Transportation has officially approved Hainan Airlines’ application to launch direct flights from Beijing to Las Vegas, local media reports.
The service will begin on December 2, operating on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, with round trip tickets starting at $650 (including taxes and fees).
Earlier in the year, brokerage Union Gaming said that conservative estimates suggest around 300,000 Chinese travelers are already visiting Las Vegas annually, arriving from other cities first.
“First, direct flights would allow Chinese travelers to spend more time in Las Vegas and ultimately spend more money. Second, incremental flights and carriers would likely follow suit after the first three flights begin. We believe the first direct flights into Las Vegas could just be the tip of the iceberg as it relates to direct service between Las Vegas and China,” the brokerage said.
In related news, casino operator Caesars Entertainment announced it has launched a WeChat hotel booking function, allowing users to book rooms using the Chinese social media app.
Caesars VP of international marketing Bruce Bommarito said the app would “capture the potential of the country’s rapidly growing leisure travel market.”