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Las Vegas visitor numbers saw healthy increase in June

Midway through 2012, Las Vegas is keeping pace with early projections of 40 million visitors this year.

Year to date, 19.93 million people have visited the city, up 2.4 percent from 19.47 million at the same time last year.

Visitor volume for June was up 2.1 percent from the same month in 2011, according to the monthly Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority count. In all, 3.39 million tourists came to Las Vegas in June, up from 3.32 million in June 2011.

June’s combined citywide hotel and motel occupancy decreased 0.5 percent, while the year-to-date the count stayed flat.

When looking only at hotels, occupancy increased month-over-month by 0.1 percent, while motel occupancy’s prior-year comparison dropped 6.3 percent.

Weekend stays in June were down 2.4 percent from 2011, and midweek occupancy fell 0.4 percent. Overall, Las Vegas had 3.97 million occupied hotel-room nights in June, up 0.7 percent from 2011.

"I think a lot of things are still at play," said Scott Russell, senior manager of research for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Russell said factors such as special events and convention attendance can affect visitor and occupancy counts.

"But we stay busy," he emphasized.

The Electric Daisy Carnival came to Vegas for several days in June and had an estimated attendance of 115,000 each night, which helped overall visitation numbers. The event’s youthful attendees, hotel representatives have said, rent relatively few rooms and pack them to maximum capacity, which may help explain weak occupancy counts.

In its monthly report, Union Gaming analysts offered that "The good news from a visitation perspective is that supply growth will remain muted and we should start to see benefits from the (McCarran International Airport) Terminal 3 opening."

And even though occupancy was weak in the prior-year comparisons, June’s average daily room rate was up 8.5 percent, to $109.75 from $101.15 in 2011. Year-to-date, the average daily rate rose a more modest 4.3 percent, from $105.53 in 2011 to $110.04 in 2012.

Convention attendance in June was up 0.7 percent from 2011, to 370,332 from 367,712 in 2011. The convention authority cited the rotation of the International Communications Industries Association with 34,000 attendees as the reason for the increase.

Total conventions and meetings held were up 15.8 percent to 1,682 from 1,453 in June 2011.

Year-to-date, the number of conventions and meetings held has jumped to 11,140, up 20.3 percent over 2011’s 9,258 figure.

"Obviously we’re seeing a larger number of smaller shows," Russell said.

The average daily number of vehicles coming into Las Vegas also rose in June, 2.5 percent from 109,990 a year ago to 107,273 in 2012. The number coming from Southern California on Interstate 15 was up 7.5 percent to 47,650 vehicles from 44,3333. Vehicle counts include visitor, resident and commercial traffic.

The number of Laughlin visitors fell 5.7 percent to 179,955 and Mesquite visitation was up 6.9 percent to 90,430 .

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at lcarroll@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588.

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