Major conventions bolster Las Vegas visitation in January

Convention attendance soared in Las Vegas in January, boosting Southern Nevada visitation by 2.4 percent to 3.5 million people, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported Friday.

The big convention month, bolstered by CES, the National Association of Home Builders trade show and the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show meeting here, bumped midweek hotel rates up and lifted the average daily room rate for the month by 6.5 percent to $144.88. The average rate for all of 2015 was just under $120.

Revenue per available room climbed 10.4 percent to $122.71 for the month.

The authority reported convention attendance up by 12.5 percent to 767,726 people. The number of conventions and meetings climbed significantly during the month, up 17.2 percent over last year to 1,966.

It was the highest convention attendance since February 2008 when 890,000 people attended shows in Southern Nevada.

Occupancy rates were higher over last year in every category, with the citywide rate up 3 percentage points to 84.7 percent. The biggest bump came in motel occupancy, which was up 14.3 percentage points to 70.4 percent. Hotel occupancy rose 1.8 points to 86.2 percent.

In the other occupancy categories, weekends were up 3.4 points to 89.3 percent, midweek levels were up 2.9 points to 82.2 percent, the Strip was up 2.2 points to 85.9 percent, and downtown was up 1.7 points to 79.3 percent.

The airlines stayed busy getting visitors to the city, and the highways leading to Las Vegas were used more than a year ago.

McCarran International Airport traffic, first reported Friday, was up 7.3 percent to 3.6 million passengers.

The average daily vehicle traffic on all major highways leading to Las Vegas averaged 102,525 vehicles a day, an 11.2 percent increase over January 2015. It was the 11th straight month that vehicular traffic pushed past the 100,000 mark.

The average daily vehicle traffic on Interstate 15 at the California-Nevada line averaged 40,219 vehicles a day, a 6.7 percent increase over January 2015.

The Nevada Department of Transportation, which monitors highway counts, noted the numbers are a blend of local and tourist traffic.

The authority also monitors tourism in Laughlin and Mesquite, and January proved to be a tale of two cities at opposite ends of success.

Laughlin’s visitor volume was down 7.3 percent from January 2015 to 137,195 people, while Mesquite visitation was up 7.1 percent to 105,070.

Room occupancy was down 5 percentage points to 51.5 percent in Laughlin, but up 1.7 points to 72.1 percent in Mesquite.

The average daily room rate was up 5.2 percent to $42.88 in Laughlin and up 7.3 percent to $62.34 in Mesquite.

Laughlin has continually been challenged by competition from the Southern California tribal casino market.

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

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