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Las Vegas visitation rises 1.8 percent, "record year" forecast

9 November 2012

By Laura Carroll

LAS VEGAS -- September visitation to Las Vegas rose 1.8 percent year-to-date, bringing the total number of 2012 visitors thus far to 30.1 million.

Total visitor volume for September also was up 1.8 percent from the same month in 2011, according to the monthly Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority count released Thursday. In all, 3.35 million tourists came to Las Vegas in September, up from September 2011's 3.29 million total.

Asked whether the city still is on track to see 40 million visitors by year-end, the convention authority's senior manager of research, Scott Russell, said: "We're maybe just a little behind, but I'm very optimistic. I'm still comfortable with saying that we'll get there."

In any case, Russell said Las Vegas will certainly meet and exceed the previous high, which was 39.2 million visitors in 2007.

"We'll definitely make 2012 a record year," he said.

September's citywide hotel and motel occupancy combined rose 1.1 points, from 85.7 percent in 2011 to 86.8 percent in 2012. Year-to-date it stayed relatively flat, only moving from 85.2 percent in 2011 to 85.3 percent in 2012.

When looking at just hotels, occupancy dipped a half point month-over-month to 89.4 percent in 2012 from 89.9 percent in 2011. Year-to-date, hotel occupancy was up slightly to 88.5 percent from 88.3 percent in 2011. Motel occupancy's year-to-date count dipped 1.4 points to 56.8 percent from 2011's 58.2 percent.

Weekend stays in September were slightly higher from 2011's 91.1 percent to 92.1 percent, and midweek occupancy also was up to 84.2 percent from 2011's 83 percent. Overall, Las Vegas had 3.91 million occupied hotel-room nights in September, up 1.5 percent from 2011's 3.86 million.

September's average daily room rate was up 1 percent to $112.52 from $111.46 in 2011. Year-to-date, the average daily rate has risen 3.3 percent from $104.52 in 2011 to $107.94 in 2012.

September's convention attendance plummeted 16.1 percent to 364,648 people from 2011's total of 434,373. Year-to-date, the figure is up 0.3 percent to 3.88 million from 2011's 3.87 million. Total conventions and meetings held in September were up 7.3 percent to 1,884 from 1,756 in 2011.

The Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority is citing show rotation cycle as the reason for the September convention attendance drop. Specifically, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute with 40,000 attendees and the VMware Show with 17,500 were absent this year.

Year-to-date, the total number of conventions and meetings held has risen 15.1 percent to 15,576, over 2011's 13,532 total.

The average daily number of vehicles coming into Las Vegas dipped 3.9 percent in September, from 96,922 a year ago to an estimate of 93,144 in 2012. The number coming from Southern California on Interstate 15 was down 6.6 percent to 36,226 vehicles from 38,789. Vehicle counts include visitor, resident and commercial traffic.

Elsewhere in Clark County, the number of Laughlin visitors fell 7.8 percent, while Mesquite visitation also dropped 6 percent in the month-over-month comparisons. Year-to-date, Laughlin's visitor count was down 8.1 percent and Mesquite's was up 2.9 percent.


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Laura Carroll
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