weather icon Clear

Southern Nevada tourism steams ahead with 2.9 percent increase

Southern Nevada’s tourism machine continues to churn on all cylinders with a 2.9 percent increase in visitors for March and double-digit percentage increases in several categories for the quarter, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said Thursday.

The LVCVA counted 3.7 million visitors for the month and an astounding 97.5 percent occupancy rate on weekends in March.

Southern Nevada rode a 21.2 percent increase to 668,716 in convention attendance over March 2015 despite there being 4.1 percent fewer shows in town.

A mix of returning and rotating trade shows resulted in the high volume with the 41,000-delegate Healthcare Information and Management show returning to the city and annual Western Veterinary conference (14,900) and Nightclub & Bar Show (39,000) boosting the total.

Overall, occupancy was up 3.2 percentage points to 91.8 percent in March with hotels up 3.3 points to 93.5 percent and motels up 2.3 points to 75.7 percent.

Both the Strip and downtown Las Vegas benefited in the occupancy boost with the Strip up 3.2 points to 93.2 percent and downtown up 2.2 points to 85.2 percent.

While downtown didn’t climb as much and as high as the Strip in occupancy, its average daily room rate soared 8.9 percent to $67.75 while the Strip was up 0.1 percent to $122.25.

Highway traffic was up, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation. The average number of vehicles per day on all major Southern Nevada highways was up 10 percent to 121,601. Of that, 47,339 vehicles per day were counted at the California-Nevada border on Interstate 15, a 9.8 percent increase.

The Department of Transportation acknowledges that the number of vehicles counted includes visitors and local residents.

For the quarter, many of the numbers are even more impressive.

Visitor volume is up 3.5 percent to 10.5 million compared with the first three months of 2015. The current quarter had an additional day on the calendar because of Leap Year.

The quarterly occupancy rate is up 2.9 percentage points to 87.9 percent and the average daily room rate is up 4 percent to $129.53. For the quarter, convention attendance is up 14.6 percent to 2 million from 6,372 shows — a total that is up 10.2 percent.

The authority also monitors traffic in Laughlin and Mesquite.

In Laughlin, visitor volume was up 1.3 percent to 176,338 in March with the occupancy rate up 0.3 percentage points to 69 percent and the average daily room rate up 1.7 percent to $42.77.

For Mesquite, visitor volume climbed 8.7 percent to 133,487. The occupancy rate went up 3.5 points to 91.6 percent and the average daily room rate soared 19.5 percent to $64.40.

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.