Las Vegas tourism officials are forecasting 39 million visitors to the destination in 2011, the second time in history that many travelers have flocked to Sin City.
For 19 straight months Las Vegas has seen growth in visitor volume and the average daily room rate. Occupancy rates also grew to 85.2 percent, 20 points above the national average.
Vegas had been hit hard by the economic recession, with a fall in business travel decimating the city's lucrative trade show and convention business. That challenge prompted the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to reinvigorate the Only Vegas brand, as well as capitalize on a generational shift toward Gen X and Gen Y consumers that emphasized diverse entertainment offerings over a focus on gaming. On November 17, the city reached out to travel agents with a dedicated planning site aimed at continuing the area's recovery.
November 17 also marked the debut of a three-year business plan that targets international and business travel. International travelers, typically stay longer and spend more than domestic travelers, represent the largest potential growth market for Las Vegas, according to LVCVA. International travelers make up 18 percent of overall visitation in Las Vegas. The goal is to increase the market share to 30 percent over the next decade.
Also, the LVCVA has designated $5 million in enhancements to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Las Vegas aims to keep its ranking as number one trade show destination in North America.
More tourists means more jobs. The tourism industry employs 263,300 residents of Southern Nevada. Since November 2009, Vegas added 15,800 jobs, which boosted sector employment by 6.4 percent.