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Visitation to LV in steady climb, but still behind 2019 figures

Las Vegas had its best monthly visitation numbers since February 2020 in April but still has a long way to go to catch up to 2019 figures, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported Thursday.

An estimated 2.57 million tourists visited the city in April — the second month in a row that the number of visitors surpassed 2 million.

That’s a 2,307.7 percent increase over a year ago, but it’s still 27.3 percent below April 2019 numbers.

For the first four months of 2021, there have been 7.638 million visitors, 10.3 percent below April 2020 and 44.8 percent less than in 2019. Occupancy for the year so far is 48.7 percent, down 4.8 percentage points from 2020 and 39.7 points from 2019.

Some of the decline in visitation can be attributed to the shutdown of the convention and trade shows industry in March 2020 as a means of slowing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The city won’t see any appreciable increases in convention attendance until June when the World of Concrete show appears at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall.

“Hotel occupancy increased to 65.6 percent , up 10.1 points month over month, with weekend occupancy improving to 83.5 percent , up 5.8 points month over month and within 13 points of April 2019 levels,” said Kevin Bagger, vice president of the LVCVA research center.

“Midweek occupancy also saw increases to 57.9 percent, up 10.1 points month over month, but down 31 points vs. April 2019,” he said.

Las Vegas has shown steady progress in filling hotel rooms with tourists since January.

A steady increase in casino capacity since March has resulted in increased numbers of customers in resorts with all properties due to be allowed 100 percent capacity on Tuesday. There’s also a higher confidence level in visitors as more and more people receive the coronavirus vaccination.

Another key indicator, room rates, is slowly rebounding.

An average rate of $109.36 a night is 9.2 percent ahead of the $100.11 average in March, 80.8 percent more than the $60.50 rate in April 2020, and 16.1 percent below the April 2019 rate of $130.40 a night.

Not every tourism indicator has been weak.

As reported by the Nevada Gaming Control Board earlier Thursday, gaming win in Clark County is up 7 percent to $865.5 million from April 2019.

Traffic on major highways heading into Las Vegas also is on the increase.

The average number of vehicles on all major highways per day — 136,234 — is up 7.2 percent from March, 140.3 percent from April 2020 and 8.3 percent from April 2019.

The number of vehicles crossing into Nevada from California on Interstate 15, 50,656 a day on average, is 10.4 percent more than in March, 196.5 percent more than in April 2020, and 8.3 percent more than in April 2019.

The Nevada Department of Transportation, which monitors the count, acknowledges that some of the traffic may be locals and not tourists.

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

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