HONOLULU (KHON2) — Travelers are once again flocking to Hawaii’s favorite destination Las Vegas.
With casinos allowed to have full capacity, some spots are attracting pre-pandemic crowds.
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Hawaii’s favorite places to stay, The Cal and Fremont in Downtown Las Vegas, have seen an uptick. But with pre-testing still required to return home, the big crowds aren’t there yet.
“It is going up,” said David Strow, vice-president of Corporate Communications at Boyd Gaming. “We’re not where we used to be but we’re making some really good progress over the past several weeks.”
Main Street remains closed and Strow says it’s hard to say when it will reopen. In the casinos, it’s looking more like old times. No more plexiglass at the gaming tables. Those who are fully vaccinated don’t have to wear a mask, but it’s based on the honor system. Strow says most of the casino workers and Hawaii guests prefer to keep their masks on.
“Visitors from Hawaii apparently are much more comfortable having their masks on,” said Strow. “We are certainly very welcoming and very encouraging of that, we want people to feel comfortable.”
He adds that as vaccination rates go up here and on the mainland, then Hawaii’s favorite casinos will ultimately get back to where they once were.
“We need to continue to see that rebound in visitation from Hawaii,” said Strow. “We really need to see a rebound of visitation along the Strip because we do ride along with that visitation as well.”
That rebound is well on its way on the Strip. Residents say the casinos and major attractions are filled with people again, and traffic is at pre-pandemic level.
“When I try to leave the TV station on a Friday night I’m stuck in traffic,” said Tedd Florendo, chief meteorologist at KLAS-TV in Las Vegas. “I’ve never seen it like that, and the streets, the sidewalks are wall to wall with people again.”
Another sign that Vegas is coming back is that some buffets are reopening again. The latest one is at the MGM Grand next week. But the ones at Fremont Street remain closed and of course Main Street also. Restaurants will be allowed 100 percent capacity on June 1.
Hawaiian Airlines has 21 flights to Las Vegas every week. Vacations Hawaii has one weekly travel package and plans to increase to four times a week in September.