As published in Where Can I Fly?
World-class adventures and business opportunities in Southern Idaho have become radically easier for the rest of the country and the world to access. United Airlines’ new, nonstop daily air service between Denver International Airport (DEN) and Magic Valley Regional Airport (TWF) in Twin Falls, Idaho, commences May 12.
Shawn Barigar, president and CEO of the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, said the new flights offer U.S. and international travelers easier access to an array of unique travel destinations and business-development opportunities in Southern Idaho.
Twin Falls and Southern Idaho boast some incredibly compelling attractions, Barigar said. As home to Shoshone Falls — the Niagara of the West — and several other spectacular falls in the surrounding area, Twin Falls has earned a reputation as the City of Waterfalls. Southern Idaho also has several nationally significant sites, such as City of Rocks National Reserve, which was an important landmark on the Oregon Trail and now attracts climbers from all over the world.
He said the Snake River, one of the West’s great rivers, is another prominent feature and Southern Idaho’s main attraction for water sports enthusiasts. He said Perrine Bridge, which towers nearly 500 feet over the canyon, draws thrill seekers worldwide as the only manmade structure in North American where BASE jumping (parachuting from a fixed structure) is allowed year-round without a permit.
Barigar said other noteworthy destinations include the vast sagebrush-strewn lava flows at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, the Minidoka National Historic Site where 13,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned during World War II, and the Thousand Springs area’s seven stunningly beautiful state park units, hot springs resorts, and sturgeon fisheries.
Melissa Barry, executive director of Twin-Falls-based Southern Idaho Tourism, said the new route should be a big boon for regional tourism.
I’m really excited about the new United route to Denver, Barry said. It will not only open up our region to the East Coast, but Denver itself is one of the top feeder markets generating traffic at VisitSouthIdaho.com, so we’re anticipating a lot of demand will come from that area. Twin Falls is kind of like a Denver 10-15 years ago: We have great access to outdoor recreation, it’s affordable, and we’re right in the sweet spot with Sun Valley to the north, Yellowstone National Park to the east, and Boise to the west.
Business opportunities are plentiful
Business opportunities in Southern Idaho are also plentiful, according to Barigar.
Idaho is number-one in population growth nationally, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Southern Idaho — one of the state’s fastest-growing regions — has seen its population increase by 5.8 percent over the last decade, he said. We’re home to robust industry, particularly focused around agribusiness from food production, processing, and research — including the world’s largest yogurt manufacturing plant, which is owned by Chobani. We also enjoy the second highest manufacturing job growth in the U.S.
He said the new flights are part of a growing trend, with airlines launching shorter routes to smaller markets like Twin Falls as the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations accelerate and people begin dipping their toes into travel again.
We’re looking forward to the start of these new flights and providing travelers with more options and access to get anywhere they want to go, said Greg Atkin, managing director of market development for SkyWest Airlines, which is operating the new flights for United. We also continue to utilize a multi-layered safety approach onboard every flight, including enhanced cleanings, mandatory face coverings and more.
Bill Carberry, Magic Valley Regional Airport manager, concurs.
We’re really excited to see forecasts for robust air travel returning again this summer as the COVID-19 vaccines are administered to the public and the airlines continue to take the appropriate precautions for safe air travel, Carberry said. The Magic Valley Regional Airport is prepared to safely accommodate air travelers with its recently expanded terminal and ticket counters. It provides the space needed to social distance and, combined with the airlines’ safety protocols, will provide a safe and enjoyable travel experience.
The new service is supported by a U.S. Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Program grant, which assists communities with small nonhub airports like Magic Valley Regional Airport to improve their air service.
Accrue frequent flier miles
Customers flying the new route between Denver and Twin Falls will have the opportunity to accrue frequent-flier miles in United’s MileagePlus loyalty program aboard SkyWest’s 50-passenger CRJ200 regional aircraft.
Visit iflytwinfalls.com for tourism information about Twin Falls and Southern Idaho.