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315K tourists expected in Las Vegas during Labor Day weekend

Updated August 31, 2018 - 4:44 pm

About 315,000 people are expected to visit Las Vegas over the Labor Day weekend, in line with the number of visitors predicted for the holiday since at least 2014.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s prediction puts Labor Day visitation about equal to New Year’s but slightly below predictions for Memorial Day weekend.

“Three-day weekends are always popular in Las Vegas, particularly Memorial Day and Labor Day as they traditionally begin and end the summer travel season,” spokesman Jeremy Handel said.

LVCVA’s prediction puts the visitation count for Labor Day at three times the attendance rate for the biggest convention in Las Vegas, the technology-focused CES.

Comparing holidays to conventions isn’t appropriate, Handel said, because CES provides specific attendance numbers whereas holidays are estimates of people flying and driving into the area.

LVCVA predicts a 96 percent occupancy rate and $237.3 million in direct spending over the weekend.

“We do know that it is traditionally the beginning of college football season, the pools are still a draw this time of year, and the resorts tend to book major musical acts for this weekend as well,” Handel said.

The Nevada Department of Transportation expects heavy traffic through Monday, with 60 percent of visitors expected to drive into the valley, spokesman Tony Illia said.

Interstate 15 and the resort corridor will be especially congested.

“We encourage people to drive safely and allow additional travel time to reach their destination,” Illia said. “Don’t drive impaired, obey posted speed limits and don’t text and drive.”

Southbound I-15 near Primm will see the worst delays on Monday when Southern Californians head home, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada spokeswoman Catherine Lu said.

The heaviest congestion will be between 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. with delays of up to 70 minutes between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. RTC will update drivers from its Twitter account.

Drivers with the phone app Waze will also see construction, crash and road closure data shared by RTC.

Congestion in Boulder City should be relieved by the new Interstate 11, Lu said.

AAA spokesman Michael Blasky said this year’s travel season is among the busiest seen since the financial crisis.

Blasky said a recovering economy, low unemployment and consumer confidence have helped.

He predicted lower airline prices compared to last year will help ease car traffic.

“Las Vegas remains one of AAA’s top 10 travel destinations for this holiday weekend,” he said. “If you’re driving to Las Vegas, hopefully you left yesterday.”

Contact Wade Tyler Millward at 702-383-4602 or wmillward@reviewjournal.com. Follow @wademillward on Twitter.

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