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Benjamin Spillman

Best-ever November sends occupancy rates soaring

15 January 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Tourists didn't let rising room rates or holiday obligations stop them from coming to Las Vegas.

More than 3.1 million people came to Las Vegas in November and occupancy rates for the month were the highest since 1996, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported.

It was the most people to ever come to Las Vegas in November, which includes Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season and is not a popular time for travel.

"November tends to be one of the softer months," said John Piet, senior research analyst for the authority.

Overall visitation was up 0.6 percent for the month, putting it 1 percent ahead of the 2005 pace.

Occupancy in Las Vegas was 87.5 percent, up 1.2 percent from last year. That was despite a 6.2 percent increase in the average daily room rate to $118.19.

Visitation to Laughlin decreased more than 15 percent to 240,138. In Mesquite, visitor traffic increased 21 percent to 140,688.

Overall, Southern Nevada is expected to host 38.7 million people this year.

Several events drove tourism.

The Aviation Nation air show at Nellis Air Force Base brought about 20,000 people to the area. It happened Nov. 11 and 12, the same weekend as Veterans Day.

Visitation numbers also got a boost from two cowboy themed events.

The first was the Professional Bull Riders World Finals Nov. 2-5 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Piet said the event, which began in October at Mandalay Bay, drew 25,000 out-of-town guests.

"That obviously helped," he said.

At the end of the month, the National Finals Rodeo helped bring in November visitors.

"It actually started in November this year," he said. "Typically it was always the first week in December."

The rodeo attracted an estimated 40,000 out-of-town visitors and generated $48.5 million in nongaming revenue for the area, the authority reported.

The rodeo began November 30 but it also included prerodeo events.

"They had people coming in that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," Piet said.