Las Vegas visitation up 2 percent in May

12 July 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Visitation to Las Vegas grew 2 percent in May, the ninth straight monthly increase.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said 3,262,831 tourists came to town during the month, compared with 3,199,719 in May 2009.

Visitation is up 1.5 percent through May, with 15.4 million tourists coming to Las Vegas, compared to almost 15.2 million for the same period last year.

Hotel-room occupancy ran at 82.6 percent in May, down 1.8 percentage points from May 2009. However, Las Vegas has an inventory of 148,542 rooms, some 7,900 more than a year ago.

The average daily room rate rose to $98.87, 2 percent higher than last May.

Convention attendance was up 3.1 percent in May but is still down 4.6 percent for the first five months of 2010.

The convention authority said the economy continued to affect visitor spending levels, as reflected by a 4.4 percent decline in Clark County gaming revenues during May.

Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Dennis Farrell Jr. told investors Strip casino operators are still facing a challenging environment.

"As evidenced by May's negative revenue trends, we remain cautious," Farrell said. "Airlines continue to reduce capacity, consumers remain cautious on discretionary travel spending, economic weakness continues in feeder markets, (and) convention attendance will likely remain weak at least until the first half of 2011."

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