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Las Vegas sees double-digit jump in number of visitors in May

Updated June 30, 2021 - 4:32 pm

Las Vegas continued its comeback in May as visitation grew by double digits over the previous month.

Southern Nevadan visitation, hotel room occupancy and rates, revenue per available rooms and number of room nights occupied all increased from April to May, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced Wednesday.

Las Vegas welcomed nearly 2.9 million visitors in May, up 11.8 percent from April but still down 22 percent from May 2019. Las Vegas visitation increased 1,802 percent from last May to this May, keeping in mind that Nevada’s tourism economy screeched to a halt last spring because of COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

More than 3.5 million passengers passed through McCarran International Airport during the month. Traffic on Southern Nevada’s major highways averaged about 137,000 vehicles per day.

Hotel occupancy also continued in May its steady climb toward pre-pandemic levels with a 70.9 percent occupancy rate during the month, up 5.3 percentage points over April’s 65.6 percent rate.

Weekend occupancy remained the key driver for May while midweek occupancy, which is driven largely by convention and meeting business, lagged behind. May’s weekend occupancy rate of 87.8 percent came within nine percentage points of May 2019 levels, the authority said.

Midweek occupancy grew from 57.9 percent in April to 62.8 percent in May, still 25.3 percentage points lower than midweek occupancy in May 2019. June was the first month without size or capacity restrictions on conventions and large meetings since the pandemic reached Nevada.

The average daily room rate in May was $126.69 — $132.69 for a room on the Strip and $93.79 for a room downtown, according to the visitors authority. While the average Strip room rate cost 12.4 percent less than it would have in May 2019, an average downtown room in May cost 21.6 percent more than it would’ve two years ago.

Las Vegas hotels made $89.82 in revenue per available room or 25.2 percent more than they did in April. They would need a roughly 30 percent increase to match the $127.59 per available room they made two years ago. And room nights for May totaled 3,223,900 compared with 2,888,000 in April.

For the second financial quarter to date, compared with the same period two years ago, “we calculate that LV Strip RevPAR is tracking down 37%, with occupancy down 25% and ADR down 16%,” Joseph Greff, a gaming analyst with J.P. Morgan, said in a Wednesday note.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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