Las Vegas isn’t quite there yet.
When all was said and done, 39.67 million visitors came to Las Vegas in 2013, down 0.1 percent from the 39.73 million people who came to the city in 2012, which was a record. The previous high was 39.2 million visitors in 2007.
Throughout 2013, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said it was targeting 40.1 million visitors as its goal.
Obviously, that didn’t happen.
“We got close. There were some things that worked against us this year,” said Scott Russell, the authority’s senior manager of research.
For 10 months in 2013, Las Vegas hotel room counts fell below prior years, as some properties closed or were under renovation. Russell said that affected the forecasted number of 40.1 million visitors as some of the late 2013 openings such as the Downtown Grand were expected to happen earlier. Year-end room inventory was 150,593, up 0.1 percent from 2012’s 150,481.
Month-over-month, Las Vegas’ December visitation was down 2.8 percent to 2.96 million in 2013 from 3.04 million in 2012. Citywide occupancy for the month also was down to 73.4 percent from 2012’s 75.8 percent. For the year-end, citywide occupancy was flat at 84.3 percent. Weekend occupancy ticked up slightly year-over-year to 91.1 percent from 90.8 percent, and midweek occupancy was down to 81.4 percent from 81.6 percent in 2012.
Month-over-month midweek occupancy dipped from 72.9 percent in 2012 to 70.1 percent, and weekend stays rose from 82.7 percent in 2012 to 82.9 percent in 2013.
Strip hotel occupancy year-over-year was down from 87.1 percent to 86.6 percent in 2013, while downtown occupancy also was down to 75.1 percent from 76.4 percent.
Year-over-year, the average daily rate of hotel rooms in 2013 were up 2.4 percent at $110.72 than in 2012 when the average daily rate was $108.08 at year-end.
In terms of the number of conventions and meetings, 2013 saw the number rise 1.9 percent to 22,027 up from 21,615 in 2012. Convention attendance rose 3.3 percent for the year-end totals, to 5.1 million people from 2012’s total of 4.9 million. The year’s convention attendance was the highest since 2008, which was 5.9 million.
The average daily number of vehicles coming into Las Vegas rose 2.2 percent in 2013 over 2012, to 102,244 from 100,047. The number of autos coming from Southern California on Interstate 15 also was up 1.9 percent to 42,485 from 41,706 in 2012. Vehicle counts include visitor, resident and commercial traffic.
Las Vegas tourism generates $45 billion in economic impact for the local economy and supports more than 380,000 local jobs.
“We are encouraged to see positive signs of continued growth for Nevada’s leading economic engine, particularly in the meetings and convention industry,” Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the convention authority, said in a statement. “We will continue building on our momentum in the coming year, and we expect to welcome more visitors to Las Vegas than ever before when several much anticipated resorts and attractions debut in 2014.”
Later this year Las Vegas has several large-scale openings planned, including The Linq and High Roller, SLS Las Vegas, Delano Las Vegas, newly renamed The Cromwell and the downtown zip line SlotZilla. More than $9 billion worth of projects have been announced or are under construction in the city.
“Those are big swings and they’ll make a difference in making those numbers,” Russell said.
He added the 2014 visitor forecast remains at more than 40 million.
To put Las Vegas visitation into a national perspective, New York City welcomed an all-time high of 54.3 million visitors in 2013, according to NYC &Co., the city’s tourism board. In 2012, 52.7 million visitors went to the Big Apple.
Comparatively, the Los Angeles Tourism &Convention Board noted the city welcomed a record 42.2 million visitors in 2013, a 2 percent increase over 2012’s 41.4 million, beating mid-year projections by 150,000 visitors and breaking records for the third consecutive year.
Other destinations such as Chicago and Orlando didn’t yet have their year-end numbers.
Las Vegas doesn’t include day trips in its visitor counts, whereas other destinations do. Russell said that can affect destination count comparisons.
Elsewhere in Clark County, the number of Laughlin visitors dipped 1.3 percent in 2013 to 2.04 million from 2012’s total of 2.07 million, while Mesquite visitation rose 1.5 percent in the year-over-year comparisons to 1.01 million from 996,146 visitors.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.