Las Vegas tourism on record pace in June

Las Vegas visitor volume continued its record pace, posting the best June on record and the third-best month of 2014.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Friday reported 3.46 million visitors to Southern Nevada for the month, a 3.1 percent increase from a year earlier. At the halfway point of 2014, Las Vegas is on pace to attract more than 41 million tourists, well ahead of 2012’s record 39.7 million.

By visitor volume, it was the best June on record, surpassing the previous high of 3.39 million visitors in 2012.

The authority also said city hotels had the second-best monthly occupancy rate of the year at 90 percent in June, 2.6 percentage points better than a year earlier.

The average daily room rate also was up 2.6 percent for the month to $115.15. Room rates weren’t as strong as in previous months in 2014, a reflection of resorts’ bids to attract summer vacationers with attractive rates.

But that hardly mattered, as nearly every statistical category in the authority’s report showed an upswing.

Convention attendance was up 13.7 percent to 429,298, largely because of a new show to Las Vegas, the American Library Association, which brought 20,300 people to the city, and the return of the International Communications Industries show, which brought 37,000 attendees.

A sign that Southern Nevada is attracting larger shows is that for the first six months of 2014, convention attendance is up 4.5 percent to 3 million attendees while the number of shows staged is down 4.5 percent to 11,467.

One other statistic that was down in June was the average daily auto traffic counts at the California-Nevada border on Interstate 15. Tabulated by the Nevada Transportation Department, the report says traffic is down 1.2 percent to 46,732 daily vehicles.

The number of vehicles counted includes local residents.

Room inventory also is down 0.4 percent to 149,297 from a year ago. Inventory will climb ahead of 2013 numbers in August when SLS Las Vegas opens.

Every occupancy category increased in June with motel visits seeing the biggest percentage bump. Motel occupancy was up 9.2 percentage points to 66.5 percent. Hotel occupancy was up 1.8 points to 92.6 percent, Strip properties were up 2 points to 92.3 percent and downtown was up 5.7 points to 83.8 percent.

Weekend occupancy was up 1.5 points to 94.8 percent while midweek occupancy was up 3.4 points to 88.3 percent.

The average daily room rate climbed 2.1 percent to $123.24 for Strip properties and 3.1 percent to $72.45 for downtown.

At midyear, the six-month average daily room rate is at $121.05, a 6.8 percent increase over the year-earlier period.

The most telling statistical story for June was the dramatic decline in Mesquite’s numbers.

Sandwiched between two traffic-delaying highway construction projects on I-15, Mesquite’s tourism economy tanked in June, the first month when both projects were underway.

After five straight months of double-digit percentage increases in visitor volume, volume flattened to zero with almost exactly the same number of visitors — 83,724 — in June 2013 as in June this year. Counts were more than 91,000 visitors every other month this year, peaking at 123,372 in March.

Mesquite’s hotel occupancy fell 6.7 percentage points to 63.5 percent. The average daily room rate sank 16.9 percent to $44.70.

Gross gaming revenue was off 6.5 percent to $7.6 million in a month when nearly every Southern Nevada urban casino zone showed double-digit-percentage increases.

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

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