|By Kyle Hansen, Las Vegas
SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 08, 2011--The number of visitors to Las Vegas was up 3.7 percent in December, bringing the total number of visitors in 2010 to more than 37.3 million, officials said Tuesday.
The annual increase was 2.7 percent higher than in 2009.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said 2,884,836 people visited Las Vegas in December, compared to 2,780,648 in December 2009. It was the 10th straight month the region has seen a year-over-year increase when compared to a year earlier.
The month lifted the total number of visitors for the year to 37,335,436, the LVCVA said.
The city's occupancy rate was up 1.1 percent for December, to 72.4 percent, but the annual occupancy rate was down 1.1 percent, to 80.4 percent in 2010.
The number of available hotel rooms in the Las Vegas area initially decreased during the year, with the temporary closure of the Plaza hotel-casino downtown and the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas, but was brought back up with the December opening of the Cosmopolitan, bringing the total number of rooms to 148,935, nearly the same as a year earlier.
Convention attendance was up 12.6 percent in December, but down 0.4 percent for the year, with just less than 4.5 million people attending 18,005 conventions and meetings in Las Vegas last year.
Both air and vehicle traffic were down in December, while the number of arriving passengers at McCarran was down 1.8 percent for the year. But vehicle traffic on Interstate 15 from California was up 2.6 percent for the year.
Laughlin and Mesquite also had visitor increases in December, a 2.3 percent bump for Laughlin and a 2.9 percent rise for Mesquite.
However, both had a decrease in the total number of 2010 visitors compared to the prior year. Laughlin's count decreased 3.4 percent to 2,363,734 visitors in 2010. Mesquite had a 7.5 percent decrease, to 995,120 visitors.
Gaming revenue statistics for December were still pending and were not included in Tuesday's report.
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