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Vegas needs 200,000 visitors for every 1,000 hotel rooms

Here’s a good buzz kill to drop next time you hear someone talking about "green shoots" or how "the worst is over" when it comes to the local economy.

Just say, "200,000."

That’s how many people Las Vegas needs to attract annually for every 1,000 hotel rooms to maintain its existing occupancy rate of nearly 90 percent.

And according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Las Vegas will have 17,000 more hotel rooms in 2011 than the approximately 140,000 it has today.

That means an economic recovery for the industry requires not just a return to the pre-recession level of about 39 million visitors annually.

It will take  another 3.4 million new visitors on top of that to maintain the same occupancy rates as in the past.

Of course, with Boyd Gaming’s Echelon, Fontainebleau and the new tower at Caesars Palace in various stages of suspended animation there’s a good chance new room development won’t meet projections.

Either way, we’re a long way from what reasonable observers would consider recovery.

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