Las Vegas Tourism Totals Decline in August, As Delta Variant Surges

Posted on: October 1, 2021, 03:16h. 

Last updated on: October 1, 2021, 03:38h.

The number of tourists visiting Las Vegas fell in August. This happened as the area experienced an increase in delta variant infections, officials said

Las Vegas sign
Vehicles traveling on the Las Vegas Strip pass the iconic welcome sign. The sign is at the southern end of the resort corridor. (Image: TripSavvy)

In August, 2.9 million visitors made their way to the Las Vegas Valley, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority website. That figure is below July’s tourism total of 3.3 million.

Kevin Bagger of the LVCVA told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the lower numbers coincided with a rise in coronavirus cases. 

With the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus spiking during the month, August visitation receded from the pandemic-era peak in July, coming in at just under 3 million visitors, down 9.2 percent month over month and down 16.2 percent from August 2019,” he said.

At the onset of COVID-19 cases in March 2020, the Las Vegas economy fell into a deep slump. A nation-leading unemployment rate left more than one-third of the area’s eligible workers without a job. Some resort companies closed their hotel towers last year during the slower middle of the week because of low demand. The number of passengers who made their way through McCarran International Airport declined by millions.

In the spring, with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and federal stimulus checks, tourists began returning to Las Vegas in larger numbers.

As the months went by, however, health officials in Los Angeles and other areas cautioned against traveling to Las Vegas because of the area’s rising infections and low vaccination rates. For two straight months his summer, joblessness in Las Vegas remained the highest in the nation for metropolitan areas with a population of one million or more.

Fewer Airport Passengers

Other tourism indicators also declined in August.

Hotel occupancy was at 72.8 percent last month, a falloff of 6.6 percent from July, the newspaper reported. The average daily room rate of $140.32 in August also was down from July’s rate, by 7.8 percent.

The airport, located just east of the Strip, also experienced lower numbers last month. 

This year in August, 3.8 million arriving and departing passengers made their way through McCarran, down from 4.15 million in July. The number of International travelers remained low in August. International travelers are seen as vital to the Las Vegas economy, especially in filling up hotel rooms during the slow mid-week days.

Vehicle traffic on Interstate 15 at the Nevada-California border was down almost 13 percent in August, with just 49,375 vehicles traveling that route. The Los Angeles area is considered important to Las Vegas tourism, contributing about 20 percent of the visitors to the casino-oriented city.

Big Wins at Casinos

One indicator pointed to brighter days ahead for Las Vegas and the entire state.

In August, casinos statewide posted a total win of $1.165 billion. That figure marks six months in a row that Nevada’s casinos have won at least $1 billion.

Statewide in July, casinos won $1.35 billion, the highest monthly gaming revenue number in state history.