Southern Nevada’s tourism economy continues to fire on all cylinders as May’s visitor volume climbed 3.2 percent from last year to 3.6 million people.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Friday also said the average daily room rate in May was up 8.2 percent to $127.60.
The authority said the destination benefited in May from an additional weekend night compared with last year and convention attendance was strong due to show rotation cycles. Two large shows that didn’t come to Las Vegas last year were among May’s events.
That, coupled with strong occupancy rates for the month, combined to deliver the fifth straight month of visitor increases.
Convention attendance was up 14.1 percent to 454,163 despite the number of shows being down 0.4 percent to 1,925 for the month. The authority said the presence of 22,900 delegates for the Coverings show and 10,000 for the American Wind Energy Association show bolstered May numbers.
The results impressed a Las Vegas-based research analyst.
“Overall, today’s Las Vegas gaming and visitation statistics collectively paint an encouraging picture,” said Robert Shore of the Union Gaming Group in a report issued Friday.
“We continue to be bullish on the Las Vegas market, led by a pickup in convention demand, new development and opportunity for more airlift,” the report said. “The May data serve to reinforce our thesis.”
Visitor volume continues to be on a record pace. Through five months, volume is up 4.5 percent to 17.2 million people, including a 3.1 percent increase in convention attendance to 2.6 million people.
Five-month occupancy rates are 3.2 percentage points higher than they were for the comparable time in 2013 to 87.9 percent. Every occupancy sector is up.
Hotel occupancy is up 2.7 points to 90.2 percent while motels are up 7.1 points to 66.8 percent. On the weekend-weekday split, weekend occupancy is up 2.9 points to 93.4 percent with midweek up 3.2 points to 85.3 percent.
Strip occupancy for the first five months is up 2.6 points to 89.8 percent while downtown is up 5.8 points to 79.9 percent.
Occupancy rates have generally been helped by a drop in room inventory. Southern Nevada now has 149,347 rooms, down 0.3 percent from a year ago.
The only negative tourism numbers on the authority’s May report were auto traffic figures. Based on Nevada Department of Transportation statistics, traffic on all major highways was off 0.5 percent to an average 102,388 vehicles a day while Interstate 15 traffic at the Nevada-California border was down 3.3 percent to an average 41,292 vehicles a day. Highway traffic statistics include local motorists.
Visitor volume in outlying Clark County communities also were robust in May, with double-digit percentage increases reported in Mesquite for the sixth straight month.
Mesquite, northeast of Las Vegas, reported a 19.8 percent increase in visitor volume to 104,286 for the month. Occupancy rates were up 6.2 percentage points to 76.5 percent, but the average daily room rate was off 11.6 percent to $55.82.
In Laughlin, on the Colorado River south of Las Vegas, visitor volume increased 5.2 percent to 187,892. Occupancy was up 6.7 points to 68.3 percent and the average daily room rate was up 8.8 percent to $49.20 a night.
Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at email@example.com or 702-477-3893. Follow him on Twitter @RickVelotta.