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Visitation to Las Vegas predicted to hit 42.5M in 2016

Southern Nevada saw a record 42.3 million visitors in 2015, according to preliminary statistics issued this week by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Strong convention attendance figures boosted the total, which were reported Tuesday at the organization’s monthly board of directors meeting.

Details on 2015’s average daily room rate and occupancy rates are expected to be disclosed by the end of the month.

LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter has projected total visitation of 42.5 million people in 2016. In past years, the organization has projected conservatively in its estimates.

Visitation numbers have increased annually since 2013, cracking the 40 million barrier for the first time in 2014.

A big part of the increase was attributed to convention attendance, which was initially listed at 5.9 million in 2015, a 3.9 percent increase from the previous year.

That total was reached despite the city hosting fewer trade shows and conventions than in 2014. It also trailed the record convention attendance mark of 6.3 million in 2006.

Kevin Bagger, the LVCVA’s senior director of strategic research, said visitation was extremely strong because local resorts were filling rooms at a more aggressive pace than in 2014 because there were fewer rooms in the city’s inventory.

In February and March, there were 150,255 rooms available in Las Vegas. But by May, the total fell to 149,071, due primarily to the closure of the Riviera, which was acquired by the LVCVA as part of its convention center campus makeover.

Once the Riviera is demolished, the 26 acres it occupies will be cleared and converted to outdoor exhibit space. The space is expected to be used for next year’s CES show as well as the massive ConExpo-Con/Ag construction equipment show in March 2017.

Occupancy rates have been strong in 2015 with the 11-month average through November 2015 estimated at 88.6 percent overall and 90.6 percent for hotels.

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

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