LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — The “Wedding Capital of the World” is eyeing the emergence of the omicron COVID-19 variant with concern, just as November ushered in the comeback of international flights and tourists from abroad and marked a banner Las Vegas travel month.
The return of international travelers is crucial to the Las Vegas economy.
According to the Clark County Marriage Bureau, the wedding industry accounts for $2.5 billion in local revenue for travel expenses, venues and vendors.
More than 18,000 workers help cater to couples and their guests. With 80% of nuptials classified as destination weddings, Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya said 20 to 24% are international couples.
“That’s a big chunk of change for us,” Goya said.
She said it is too early to tell whether the omicron variant will have any effect, but international couples have already been calling to plan their 2022 weddings.
“We have seen an increase in international visitors. International couples in particular book far in advance. I think there’s a little bit of leeriness whether everything will be open,” Goya said, noting that Canada and Europe are the top markets for international lovebirds.
“A lot of international couples are calling and starting the process [to plan their wedding],” Goya said. “Especially as COVID restrictions continue to retreat, we will see that great international market we have always enjoyed.”
International couples say their 2022 wedding dates are still on, and travel is still allowed to the U.S., but the latest travel bans to Africa has brought them more stress.
“Fingers crossed, the borders don’t get shut down again,” said Jennifer McLoughlin from the United Kingdom, who had to delay her early November wedding at the Flamingo to early next year.
“The stress levels, the anxiety, you can imagine, having to wait to the very last second to move what is meant to be the best day of your life,” McLoughlin said.
“It scares me, we might have to cancel again,” said Canadian bride Valerie Saranpaa, who originally had a spring 2020 wedding in Las Vegas. “Hopefully my new date is end of April, beginning of May.”
“I’m hoping it stays calm like this, so I can actually can plan it and actually go through with it this time,” Saranpaa said.