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Benjamin Spillman

Visitor tally flat for Las Vegas

16 January 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Neither Floyd Mayweather nor the Rolling Stones were around to draw tourists to Las Vegas in November, and it showed in the monthly visitation tally.

The number of people who came to Southern Nevada was flat for the month and room rates dropped nearly 4 percent, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Occupancy rates also fell slightly to 87 percent for the month, which didn't have a big list of major events to attract tourists, such as the concerts and fights that made headlines in November 2006.

"It is a tough comparison to a really strong comparison for last year," said Kevin Bagger, director of Internet marketing and research at the convention and visitors authority.

Bagger said November 2006 was the second-busiest November on record. He credited concerts by the Rolling Stones and Barbara Streisand and two fights, one featuring flamboyant fan favorite Floyd Mayweather and the other headlined by Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino boxer with a strong fan base.

"We didn't have that level of high-profile special events going on during (November 2007)," he said.

Visitation in November was flat at about 3.2 million people despite the month having one more weekend day than in 2006.

For the first 11 months of 2007 it was up less than 1 percent to about 36.1 million.

The flat numbers came during a month when gambling revenue declined more than 16 percent in Clark County and nearly 20 percent on the Strip.

It's enough to make people feel bad for the big resorts.

No need to go that far.

Room rates through the first 11 months of 2007 are up nearly 11 percent to almost $134 per night. Gambling revenue for the period was more than $9.9 billion in Clark County, an increase of about 2 percent from the first 11 months of 2006. And the non-gambling economic impact of conventions for the month of November jumped nearly 8 percent to $8.3 million. For the year, conventions have generated almost $8.3 billion in non-gambling spending.

Visitation to Laughlin was off nearly 5 percent to 229,191 for the month and down more than 6 percent to 131,837 in Mesquite.

The Laughlin room rate for November increased 4 percent to an average of $38 per night. In Mesquite it dropped 13 percent to $60 per night.

For the year, Mesquite visitation is up less than 1 percent to almost 1.5 million. In Laughlin it is down 7 percent to 2.9 million people.