|By Richard N. Velotta, Las Vegas
SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 09, 2011--Southern Nevada tourism continued its steady climb as the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority today announced a 5.5 percent increase in visitation in September over last year.
The LVCVA reported 3.3 million people visited Las Vegas for the month. With one quarter to go, an estimated 29.5 million people have visited in 2011, 4.7 percent ahead of the 2010 pace.
It was the 19th straight month of visitation increases and the highest percentage increase since July, which had the highest visitation total of the year with 3.5 million.
A huge bump in convention traffic led to a 3.6 percentage point increase to 85.7 percent in citywide occupancy rates, and the average daily room rate climbed by 14.6 percent to $111.46.
The number of convention visitors increased 49.1 percent to 434,373, and show rotation and scheduling had a lot to do with the increase.
In addition to hosting Pack Expo, a packaging and processing trade show that had a record 45,000 attendees, and Vision Expo, which was calendared in October last year, the LVCVA reported a mix of shows new to Las Vegas that collectively attracted more than 30,000 people.
There were 8 percent more conventions, meetings and trade show in September with 1,756.
The number of passengers getting off planes at McCarran International Airport was up 8.2 percent to 3.5 million, but the average number of cars using major highways was down 2.2 percent to 96,922 a day.
The LVCVA figures were announced on the heels of September gaming results that showed gaming revenue down 6.6 percent in Clark County and 5.7 percent on the Strip. Analysts say the decline was the result of weaker baccarat play and lower sports book revenue, but most of the mass market slot machines and table games were at higher levels than last year.
The LVCVA also reported visitor volume down 6 percent to 175,262 in Laughlin and off 1.5 percent to 71,507 in Mesquite. Occupancy rates were off 2.8 percentage points, to 60.7 percent, in Laughlin and off 2.4 points, to 69.4 percent, in Mesquite. But the average daily room rate was up in both cities, 6.1 percent, to $41.28, in Laughlin and 8.3 percent, to $49.91, in Mesquite.
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