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Chris Kudialis

Las Vegas estimates Memorial Day weekend will be the busiest of the year

26 May 2015

With a growing national economy, officials are expecting travel to the Las Vegas Valley for the three-day Memorial Day weekend to compete with the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and New Year’s for the biggest event of 2015 so far.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority is projecting about 330,000 visitors in the valley from today to Monday — an increase of 6,000 from 2014, said spokesman Jeremy Handel.

Comparatively speaking, the LVCVA put Mayweather-Pacquaio at about 310,000 visitors and New Year’s Eve and early New Year’s Day at 300,000.

“Three-day holiday weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day are always busy here,” Handel said. “It’s an easy drive for our friends in Southern California and, being a long weekend, people don’t mind jumping on a plane.”

On Thursday, with an estimated 80,477 seats available for incoming flights, McCarran International Airport reported its largest 24-hour seat capacity in at least six years, spokeswoman Christine Crews said. With 79,597 available seats, Friday wasn’t far off Thursday’s near-record total.

Officials said the all-time 24-hour high occurred in 2007.

“We’ve seen strong growth, particularly in May, and this is a positive sign of growing tourism in Las Vegas,” Crews said.

In total, incoming commercial air traffic for the five-day span from Thursday through Memorial Day tops even the seat capacity for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight earlier this month, Crews said.

More than 365,500 seats were available from Thursday to Monday compared with just more than 361,000 seats from April 28 to May 2.

“It’s reflective of both Memorial Day travel and the economy in general,” said Chris Jones, McCarran’s public affairs and marketing manager. “A sure sign of growth.”

On the ground, Memorial Day travel is expected to reach 10-year highs in the Mountain West, AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said, though specific numbers for the Las Vegas Valley were not available. More than 2.8 million residents in the Mountain West, which includes Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Colorado, will drive 50 or more miles over the weekend — a 5 percent increase from 2014.

It’s the strongest Memorial Day travel numbers since 2005, Harris said, in part because of lower gasoline prices and a healthier overall economy.

“Simply put, there’s higher consumer confidence,” Harris said. “People are doing better financially, and there’s more disposable income.”

Businesses in the valley are loading up for one of the most lucrative sales weekends of the year.

At Bonanza Gift Shop, longtime manager Angie Hurt said she is stocking the shelves in preparation for a “serious uptick” in business.

“Let’s just say holiday weekends are great for business,” she said.

Similarly, Crazy Horse III Vice President Keith Ragano said the weekend was “definitely” one of the top 10 weekends of the year for his club.

“At the end of the day there are so many people in town that we get a ton of people also,” Ragano said. “It’s just a big weekend for the entire city.”

Though Memorial Day marks one of the top tourism weekends of 2015, it’s just the beginning of the summer travel season, AAA spokeswoman Harris said. Valley tourism numbers likely will be equaled or passed by Fourth of July, Labor Day weekend and Thanksgiving, she said.

“Kids are still in school, so families are just looking for a quick getaway,” Harris said. “It’s basically just a well-timed, three-day weekend.”

Hotels in the valley are at 97.2 percent capacity for the weekend, LVCVA spokesman Handel said, meaning more than 4,100 of the valley’s 149,145 hotel rooms are still available.

“I’ve never heard of a weekend where we’ve been 100 percent full,” he said. “We tell everybody there’s always room to join us.”
Las Vegas estimates Memorial Day weekend will be the busiest of the year is republished from