Visitor volume to Las Vegas rose for the seventh straight month in March, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported this morning.
The local market hosted 3.22 million tourists in the month, up 0.7 percent from March 2009. Year to date through March, visitor counts are up 1.5 percent, to 8.95 million people, compared with 8.83 million travelers in the same three months of 2009.
Hotel-room occupancy rates came in at 85.4 percent in March, down 3.5 percent from 89.7 percent a year earlier, though the market added 5.5 percent to its room inventory in the time period.
The average daily room rate was up 0.8 percent, to $93.23 a night.
The authority also released its proposed 2011 budget in its monthly board meeting this morning.
The budget calls for room revenue of $150 million in the year, unchanged from the room revenue it expects to collect in fiscal 2010, which ends June 30.
The spending plan also forecasts a small increase in revenue at its Las Vegas Convention Center, but officials must retain cost-saving measures including mandatory furloughs, hiring freezes and postponed capital improvements.
The biggest budget cuts come in advertising, which the authority has long looked to avoid cutting. Spending on advertising will drop from $87.4 million in fiscal 2010 to $71.8 million in fiscal 2011, an 18 percent drop.
"Advertising is the focus -- the heart really -- of completing our mission, and up to this point we have protected the funding dollars for advertising during all of the budget cuts of the last three years," said Brenda Sidall, the authority's vice president of finance. "We're at a point now where we can no longer shield the advertising budget."
The authority's board will hold a public meeting to discuss and take action on the budget on May 20 in the board room at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4512.