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Chris Jones

Tourists Increase in May

13 July 2005

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Las Vegas in May hosted nearly 3.4 million visitors, a 3.4 percent increase from the same month in 2004, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said Tuesday.

Year-to-date, the city's 16 million visitor tally was a 1.9 percent gain from last year's pace, when Las Vegas went on to set a 12-month record with nearly 37.4 million visitors.

Despite the April 28 debut of Wynn Las Vegas and special events such as MGM Grand's May 14 middleweight boxing match between Felix Trinidad and Winky Wright, room nights purchased by leisure visitors dipped in May by 8.5 percent to 2.3 million.

However, room nights purchased by conventioneers surged 30.6 percent to nearly 1.5 million.

Authority spokeswoman Erika Yowell said Tuesday the city's May convention calendar benefited from the return of shows such as Waste Expo (11,421 attendees) and Choice Hotels International (5,179).

New trade show events included the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (55,000) and American Institute of Architects (24,440), she added.

The National Hardware Show had 26,000 additional delegates this year, which fueled total attendance of 50,000.

Overall, local convention attendance topped 660,000 for the month, up 29.7 percent. Conventioneer spending was more than $825.6 million, a 35.8 percent increase.

Thanks to hotel expansions and new resorts, the local guest room inventory was up 3.1 percent from a year ago. But that increased supply did not drive down room rates in May, when local guests paid an average of $104.86 per night, up 10.5 percent.

Despite good news from Las Vegas, monthly tourism was down in two outlying Southern Nevada resort destinations.

Laughlin's 324,000 May visitors was a 2.9 percent dip from a year ago, while year-to-date, the Colorado River resort's 1.74 million tally was off 4.2 percent from a year ago.

In Mesquite, May's visitor count of 146,468 was down 2.9 percent. Through this year's first five months, its 719,902 total was off 2.6 percent.