By Amy McKeever
August 28, 2015
Credit: Courtesy of McCarran Int'l Airport

Las Vegas hopes to draw in new foreign tourism with a $51 million airport expansion that will double its international gates, McCarran International Airport director Rosemary Vassiliadis announced yesterday. The Associated Press reports that the expansion is aimed at increasing tourism from Asia—and China, in particular—by promoting direct flights and creating the airport’s first gate big enough for a super-jumbo double-deck A-380 airplane.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal further explains that the plan is to create a tunnel that “would connect seven of McCarran’s D gates directly to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection passenger arrival facility.” These seven newly designated international gates would be in addition to the airport’s existing seven international gates at McCarran’s Terminal 3.

Vassiliadis announced the expansion at the second meeting of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, which Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval created in July “to identify and prioritize tourism improvement projects in southern Nevada.” The AP notes that foreign travelers only accounted for 19 percent of Las Vegas tourism last year—numbers that the state would like improve upon.

With an eye toward that goal, the McCarran airport expansion is slated to get underway later this year. And Las Vegas residents can start looking forward to more direct flights to destinations in Asia when the new international gates open in early 2017.