Archive for September 1st, 2011

More Positive Signs for Las Vegas

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is predicting that Labor Day weekend will be solidly successful for our city this year. Also, the major travel websites report that New York and Las Vegas are the two top online booking destinations for the 2011 Labor Day holiday. In fact, visitation to the Las Vega Strip is up 5.1% through the first six months of this year and weekend occupancy rates are running at 92% as well.  As I am sure you noticed, gas prices have recently begun to moderate and this is very important for Las Vegas tourism. Roughly 40% of our visitors on any given weekend (especially Labor Day) are drive-in from California and other neighboring states.  How is the airport doing these days?  Passenger counts have actually risen for seven straight months at McCarran International Airport which is very exciting news. The total number for every month of this year has beaten the number for the corresponding month in 2010 and we are very encouraged by this. As always, Southwest Airlines continues to be our busiest carrier. McCarran International is also predicted by aviation analysts to be one of the top ten fastest growing airports in the nation over the next five years. Last but not least, the  Southern Nevada Index of Leading Economic Indicators recorded its second gain in a row for August. This is an especially important measurement because it tabulates economic activity throughout Greater Las Vegas and not just Strip-based spending data. Two months of positive gains are not yet enough to establish a stable upward trend but we have to make a start somewhere. Increases in valley-wide economic activity should lead to gains in employment over time and this is the most crucial factor of all in restoring the health of our community. The state of the Las Vegas economy and the eventual recovery of the Las Vegas real estate market are deeply intertwined as you might imagine, so we will be watching the Southern Nevada Index very closely over the coming months. Thus far in 2011 the signs of recovery are modestly encouraging.