Is tourism back in Las Vegas? Recent numbers say it is: Travel Weekly


Paul Szydelko

Statistics recently released show that March may have been a turning point for Las Vegas amid the pandemic.

With the increasing availability of vaccines, declining Covid-19 positivity rates, and the third round of stimulus reviews on bank accounts, tourists were returning to the Strip in fairly large numbers.

There were good signs in several areas:

• McCarran Airport served nearly 2.6 million passengers in March, a 60% increase from 1.6 million in February.

• More than 2.2 million people visited in March, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, up nearly 45% from February.

• Nationwide gaming winnings were $ 1.7 billion in March, up 72.6% from March 2020 when Governor Steve Sisolak’s casinos closed. It was the highest gain for a month since February 2013.

“Now that the virus has been reduced and there are vaccine solutions and they are all available by May, it means the floodgates are opening,” LVCVA spokeswoman Lori Nelson-Kraft told the Washington Post on April 29.

“One [month’s] Observation is not a trend, “warned Stephen Miller, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Gaming revenue, taxable sales, visitor numbers and occupancy rates all fell from a cliff in March 2020 with the outbreak of the pandemic. Las Vegas rebounded strongly, but only partially, in May and June in what economists refer to as a V-shaped recovery, Miler said.

“It was 40% back to the summit or 50% or 30% [depending on the category]. So it moved back, but it didn’t quite go, ”he said. “Then we got into a kind of lull. The series [of numbers] was up, but not too much through the summer and into the fall. “

While California auto traffic fully recovered by October, Miller found that McCarran Airport leaned in the wrong direction during the winter. It rose in February and then rose significantly in March.

Those who came to Las Vegas to bet on March Madness (the NCAA men’s basketball tournament), along with the easing of capacity constraints, undoubtedly contributed to the resurgence.

“March was a really good month,” said Miller. “Everyone is kind of hanging around waiting to see what will happen [with new numbers from April]. They’re pretty confident that things are on their way back, “he said.

McCarran is about 60% of the way back from the summit, Miller said, “So we’re still in the hole. We’re not out of the dump if you are thinking of going back to where we were in February 2020. And that’s And applies to most series. “

Casino coffers may recover faster. For example, Clark County’s gaming revenue, home of Las Vegas, was $ 893 million in March, compared to $ 631 million the previous month, and was close to the $ 897 million reported in February 2020 were achieved shortly before the pandemic.

“That was an amazing number to most people when this came out,” Miller said. “You didn’t expect such a big change. It was a lot.”

More casino floors are allowed to operate at 100%, and June 1st is still the target date for the lifting of all capacity restrictions. Visitor traffic and the number of tourists arriving by air are the most important data Miller will be monitoring over the coming months.

International pandemic conditions, Covid-19 variants, and the percentage of people vaccinated all have an impact on tourism and the wider economy, Miller said.

“I see the virus and the economy as hip,” Miller said. “If the economy really gets going, we really need to get the virus under control. If we can get it under control, there will be a lot of catching up to do. There is every reason to believe that once the virus is under control, the economy should grow very positively again. “