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Virgin Atlantic Celebrates 10 Years of Direct Flights to Las Vegas | Gaming News

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Virgin Atlantic Celebrates 10 Years of Direct Flights to Las Vegas
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LAS VEGAS -- International tourists are known to stay longer and spend more money while in Las Vegas. One way to lure them is to offer a direct flight from their home country.

Virgin Atlantic Airways started their direct flights from London to Las Vegas 10 years ago and it's been a major success. McCarran sees 148 non-stop international flights to Las Vegas every week. These direct flights have been such a success, local leaders are hoping to convince more countries to hop on board.

Tuesday, Virgin Atlantic, along with its owner Sir Richard Branson, is celebrating a milestone -- it's the 10th anniversary of non-stop flights from London to Las Vegas.

"Las Vegas is made for Virgin and Virgin is made for Las Vegas and we've had 10 great years. Ten million people have come from England here direct and it's been a lot of fun and we are still having fun," said Branson.

The direct flight has brought in $1 billion to the local economy.

"I think everyone is incredibly grateful that there is a non-stop to Las Vegas. It's a pain having to go via another city and I think a lot more people come to this city because it is a direct flight," said Branson.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter, along with McCarran officials made the trip to the UK more than 10 years ago to convince Branson to start a direct flight. It's a practice they've kept up with other countries through the years.

Ralenkotter says targeting airlines is key to increase visitor volume. "We've identified international as a growth market, so we need to get that up to 25-percetent over the next 10 years and whenever you have non-stop service, it makes it easier to market and sell it," he said.

"We let them know it is a seamless experience. It's a very easy airport to come in and out of. We do accommodate the operation they offer so it becomes a win/win," said McCarran Deputy Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis.

An airline from Paris has also just recently signed on to try out a direct flight for the next six months. Leaders say a simple direct flight isn't only profitable for the airline, it's profitable for Las Vegas.

"When they come to Las Vegas, they all have a blast and they come back with nothing in their pockets but they've all had a good time," said Branson.

Virgin Atlantic is adding a new direct flight. Starting next April, they will fly direct from Manchester twice a week.

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