Las Vegas saw 38.8 million visitors last year, up 20.5 percent from 2021. But the double-digit percentage increase wasn’t enough to beat the city’s 2016 record of 42.9 million visitors.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority also said Tuesday that the city had more than twice as many convention attendees in 2022 than the previous year, hosting nearly 5 million people.
Overall hotel occupancy brought the country to 79.2 percent for the year, while the national average was 63 percent, according to the LVCVA. While the room occupancy rate of 79.2 percent was good compared to others, it was well below the city’s record of 90.4 percent achieved in 1996 and again in 2007.
Clark County reported an average daily room rate of $170.98, up 28.9% from the period before COVID 2019. Gaming revenue in the county was $12.79 billion, surpassing the 2021 record of $11.45 billion.
Another record may fall – the number of passengers using Harry Reid International Airport.
Reid officials have not yet reported figures for December, but the 11-month total of 48.3 million passengers was just 3.2 million short of 2019’s record of 51.5 million.
Kevin Bagger, vice president of the LVCVA Research Center, called 2022 a good year.
“From the initial shadow of the omicron variant to record room rates later in the year, Las Vegas enjoyed a steady recovery trajectory in terms of key tourism metrics in 2022,” Bagger said. “With visits in December 2022 down just 4.6 percent from December 2019, the year ended with 38.8 million visitors, 20.5 percent ahead of 2021 and 8.7 percent below 2019’s results .”
But he added that occupancy and room rates are what shine the most.
“For the year, weekend occupancy reached 89.3 percent, 8 points from 2021 and 5.6 points below 2019,” he said. “Although midweek occupancy reached 74.7%, up 14.2 points from 2021, but down 11.6 points from 2019.”
The annual average daily room rate reached $171, he said, up 24.5 percent from 2021 and 28.9 percent ahead of 2019. RevPAR — revenue per available room — reached about $135 for the year, up 47.6 percent higher than the previous year and 14.9 percent ahead of 2019.
Travel to Las Vegas has been fueled by several major sporting events such as the NFL Pro Bowl in February, the NFL draft in April, a full Raiders season and international soccer matches featuring world giants Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Chelsea, among others.
Travel to the destination has also become more accessible with the removal of international travel restrictions, coupled with the addition of three new airlines and 36 new markets at Reid International.
It’s a big year ahead
Bagger and LVCVA believe a strong finish to 2022 bodes well for a big year in 2023.
He said the city is facing a massive $3.2 billion development planned throughout the resort corridor. Fontainebleau Las Vegas is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2023 with 3,700 rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.
The $2.17 billion MSG Sphere at The Venetian is under construction and scheduled to open in the second half of 2023. It will feature 17,500 seats, an exosphere with 580,000 square feet of programmable lighting and the largest LED the highest resolution screen on earth.
Several renovations and reinvestments will also take place this year, including remodeling rooms at the New York-New York and rebranding The Mirage at the Hard Rock Hotel, as well as renovating the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
Major international sporting events are also underway for what the LVCVA calls “The Greatest Arena on Earth” this year, including the NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday, L’Etape of the Tour de France on May 7 and the inaugural Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix on November 16-18.
Gaming industry analyst John DeCree of Las Vegas-based CBRE Equity Research said in a note to investors on Tuesday that his company expects the favorable trends to continue.
“The Strip is now running on all cylinders, with continued growth in gaming volumes, including signs of an early recovery in international play such as baccarat, and higher room rates as the recovery of group and convention business accelerates,” said DeCree. “We remain bullish on the outlook for fiscal ’23, particularly in the first quarter of 2023, as competitors remain easy.”
Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. I follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.