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Conventions’ return boosts August visitation to Southern Nevada

Visitation to Southern Nevada grew again in August, bolstered by double-digit gains in convention attendance, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported Friday.

The LVCVA reported 3.3 million visitors in August, a 4 percent increase over last year. Convention attendance grew 64.3 percent to 647,600 attendees.

“August was a solid month with more than 3.3M visitors as weekend occupancy was largely on par with last year while midweek saw notable gains supported in part by a strengthening convention segment that included recurring shows such as ASD Market Week as well the Summer 2023 Las Vegas Market show at World Market Center,” Kevin Bagger, vice president of the LVCVA research center, said in the report.

Conventions helped overall hotel occupancy reach 80.3 percent for the month, up 3.5 percentage points year over year, while weekend occupancy dipped slightly, down 0.4 percentage points to 89.7 percent, according to the report. Meanwhile, midweek occupancy reached 77 percent, surpassing last August by 4.8 percentage points.

Las Vegas visitors are putting up more to stay in a hotel. The average daily room rate reached $158.47, a 7 percent increase versus 2022. Strip visitors paid, on average, $167.51 while downtown visitors paid about $87.71.

Revenue per available room, a performance metric, exceeded $127, an 11.9 percent increase year over year, according to the report.

Room nights occupied reached 3.7 million, a 5.1 percent increase compared to August 2022. But the performance remains below pre-2019 levels.

For the eight months of 2023, convention attendance is ahead of last year’s pace, with 4.1 million convention visitors, a 30 percent increase over 2022.

The steady climb occurred despite a modest decline in car traffic from Southern California. While traffic on major highways into Las Vegas was up 0.1 percent to 127,266 vehicles on a daily average, the amount of daily traffic on Interstate 15 at the Nevada-California border was down 3.3 percent to 44,147.

The Nevada Department of Transportation monitors highway traffic and acknowledges that not all vehicles carry tourists.

Other Southern Nevada resort cities saw visitation increase in August. Laughlin, along the Colorado River, reported an 8.5 percent increase to 104,700 visitors with an occupancy rate of 49.2 percent, a 4.1 percentage point increase against August 2022. Average daily room rates fell 13.1 percent to $60.31.

Meanwhile in Mesquite, northeast of Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona border, reported 69,000 visitors, a 4.5 percent increase compared to a year ago. Occupancy there was 69.2 percent, a 3.7 percentage point increase, with average daily room rates rising 6.2 percent to $59.33.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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