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Visitation numbers take a pause from returning to pre-pandemic levels

Updated September 29, 2022 - 4:18 pm

Visitation to Southern Nevada in August paused its climb toward pre-pandemic levels with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reporting the weakest monthly total since February.

The 3.19 million visitors in August was 6.4 percent higher than August 2021, but still 10.9 percent behind totals reported in August 2019, according data released Thursday by the LVCVA. Much of the decline could be placed on convention visitation, which was down 38.2 percent from August 2019’s 657,800 show attendees.

Similar patterns emerged among most tourism indicators.

“Relative to 2019, August average daily auto traffic was 1.4 percent higher on all major highways and 5.3 percent lower at Interstate 15 at the Nevada-California border,” said Joe Greff, gaming industry analyst at New York-based J.P. Morgan. “Total air passengers was 4.64 million, down 5 percent sequentially, but up 5 percent versus 2019.”

Kevin Bagger, vice president of the LVCVA Research Center, said overall hotel occupancy of 76.8 percent was 4 points ahead of August 2021, but down 10.9 points compared with August 2019.

“Surpassing 90 percent for the sixth straight month, weekend occupancy reached 90.1 percent, up 3 points year over year, but down 5.1 points from August 2019, while midweek occupancy came in at 72.2 percent, up 4.4 points year over year, but down 11.9 points from August 2019,” he said.

“The trend of strong ADR (average daily room rate) continued as August ADR exceeded $148, 5.5 percent of last year and 22.4 percent ahead of August 2019.”

For the first eight months of 2022, visitation to Southern Nevada reached 25.26 million, up 27.7 percent from the same period last year. Convention attendance is down 255 percent to 3.18 million conventioneers.

The average daily room rate for eight months is $160.46, 17.4 percent above the same time frame last year, with the occupancy rate at 77.4 percent, or 15.4 points ahead of last year.

Outlying Southern Nevada markets monitored by the LVCVA showed visitor volume of 96,500 in Laughlin, 0.9 percent higher than August 2021. Occupancy rates of 45.1 percent were 0.9 points ahead of August 2021, but off 19.7 points from August 2019. The average daily room rate was calculated at $69.38, down 11.8 percent from a year ago but up 19.6 percent compared to August 2019.

In Mesquite, visitor volume was 66,000 with no comparable data from last year. Total occupancy was 65.5 percent, and the average daily room rate was $55.89.

Earlier in the day, the Nevada Gaming Control Board announced strong gaming win numbers with Clark County pulling in $1.02 billion in August. And earlier in the week, the Clark County Division of Aviation reported the best three-month period in its history, culminating with August’s 4.54 million passengers at Harry Reid International Airport.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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