Asian Tourism Growing in Las Vegas - 8 News NOW

Asian Tourism Growing in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS -- Never before has the Las Vegas valley seen such a high number of Asian tourists and business travelers, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. 

Hotels and casinos are now making changes to appeal to this growing market with special shows, entertainment, shopping, cuisine and more.

Monday, it was announced the currently vacant Echelon property will be transformed into Resorts World Las Vegas, an Asian themed resort. It will mean construction jobs and permanent positions once it opens. The resort is designed to target visitors from China.

Ruby and Esther Chan from Hong King have only been in Las Vegas for 30 minutes and they are already at the famous Las Vegas sign on the Strip taking pictures. They've got two days and want to make the most of their visit.

"We would like to see the hotel, the decorations of the hotel, and maybe we'll do some gambling as well," Esther Chan said.

The sisters have been to Las Vegas before and say it was a great experience.

"The decorations, and also the theme of this area is very good, fantastic," Ruby Chan said.

Both women represent a key market for Las Vegas where the Strip attracts about 8 percent of Asian travelers to the U.S. every year and it's growing.

"Chinese travelers to the United States are expected to grow by more that 250 percent," said Cara Roberts with Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Those at the convention and visitors authority said they've never before seen so many Asian travelers. The most recent count in 2011 showed 427,000 visitors from Japan, China and South Korea that year. Wait times to get a travel visas out of Asia have been significantly reduced from more than 90 days to as little as five. The results can be seen on the Las Vegas Strip.

"We've up to roughly half a million visitors from all of Asia , primarily from our key markets of China, Japan and South Korea," Jesse Davis with LVCVA.

Davis said Strip casinos and hotels are falling in line to accommodate the new visitors with special entertainment and culinary offerings.

The launch of the new Resorts World Las Vegas is just the most recent of moves to appeal to the growing Asian market.

According to the LVCVA, international travelers account for nearly 30 percent of the valley's annual tourism revenue.

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