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Gaming Guru

Chris Jones
 

Las Vegas Visitor Count Heads Higher Again in April

14 June 2005

Mark

The debut of Wynn Las Vegas and appearance of a blockbuster trade show fueled a modest increase in local visitor volume during April. But it was enough to qualify as the busiest April in local tourism history, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said Monday.

Overall the city hosted 3.29 million visitors in this year's fourth month, up 1.5 percent from a year ago.

Year to date, local visitor volume is nearly 12.7 million, up 1.4 percent from the first four months of 2004, which was ultimately the local tourism industry's busiest year on record.

John Piet, senior research analyst for the convention authority, said the April 28 debut of Wynn Las Vegas, the city's first new megaresort in nearly five years, created a buzz among Las Vegas watchers locally and internationally. However, because the $2.7 billion resort was open only three days in April, Piet said its true impact won't be measurable until May visitor statistics are released next month.

Notably, average daily room rates have topped the $100 mark each month in 2005 as operators such as Wynn Resorts and MGM Mirage have added more-expensive rooms to the local room inventory. Average daily room rates first topped the $100 mark in October before dipping below that mark over the final two months of last year.

"(Average daily room rates) have been surging like that all year," Piet said. "We've been over $100 every month as new high-end inventory came online, particularly the Spa Tower at Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas."

Rates typically soften during the summer, Piet said, so it will be interesting if Las Vegas' new cache of luxury rooms will draw enough willing customers to maintain the recent $100-plus average.

April's average daily rate was $107.26, up 15.7 percent from a year ago.

A 17.5 percent surge in convention attendance played a key role in filling the city's nearly 134,000 guest rooms in April, Piet added.

The month's major trade shows included the annual National Association of Broadcasters, which brought nearly 105,000 people to the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as the International Security Conference, or ISC West, which attracted approximately 21,000 people to the Sands Expo and Convention Center, show organizers said.

Total room nights occupied by tourists fell by 5.8 percent in April, though rooms occupied by convention delegates surged by 18.3 percent.

Two other Southern Nevada resorts continued downward trends in April.

Laughlin's 354,639 April visitors was down 5.3 percent from a year ago, while its four-month total of 1.4 million monthly visitors was off 4.5 percent from the same period of 2004.

Mesquite reported 149,794 April visitors, down 2.4 percent. Year-to-date, its 573,434 visitor count was off last year's pace by 2.5 percent.