September Tourism Numbers Drop in Vegas due to COVID Totals
As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase from the delta variant, the foot traffic in Las Vegas continues to slow down.
Unfortunately, the United States is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus continues to change and create new variants, and states around the nation are affected in a variety of ways. In Las Vegas, delta variant cases have continued to increase, and the uptick has caused a slowdown of foot traffic in the city. Totals were just revealed for September, and it showed that visitors are not coming to Sin City as they were in previous months. Recent challenges involving Southwest Airlines have also caused concern for upcoming totals regarding tourism numbers.
Las Vegas relies heavily on out of state traffic to see travelers come in for conventions, casino gaming, hotel stays, and other entertainment. For players to travel in from farther way states, air travel is key. Just recently, Southwest Airlines announced several flight cancellations due to labor shortages, weather, and air-traffic control issues. This reportedly won’t have a major impact on travel to Las Vegas, but it still is an affecting factor.
The airline contributes to over 50% of the traffic to Las Vegas each year. If travelers do not feel secure in using the airline to reach the city, they might pick another destination, which would affect travel numbers.
Carlo Santarelli, an analyst for Deutsche Bank, reported that the recent cancellation of flights will not affect tourism totals. The analyst feels the incident is isolated and will be short term. If the trend were to continue, it could impact hotel demand as well as spending at casinos and dining venues.
Lower Tourism Numbers
Foot traffic has been decreasing for quite some time in Las Vegas. Jefferies Securities analyst David Katz stated that foot traffic in the city has decreased considerably. From July to August, the visitation volume fell by around 300,000 individuals. An 8% decrease was seen from August to September. While there is still a decrease in number of travelers, there was an improvement from the previous summer months.
When comparing 2019 to now, September foot traffic decreased by 22%. Locals were traveling less as well, dropping over 40% when compared to two years ago. It was higher from month to month with an increase of 1% from August.
Reno saw a drop as well with a 24% decrease last month when compared to August. Laughlin fell just 6% while Lake Tahoe was down almost 50%.
Will It Continue?
Since it is getting closer to winter and people will be stuck indoors more, can we expect the lower traffic levels to continue? Most people thought, or were at least hopeful, that the COVID-19 pandemic would end this year and we would no longer be dealing with it. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
The virus continues to be an issue and new variants are popping up regularly to create a cause for alarm. In the summer, people started traveling again because there were outdoor activities to enjoy and with vaccinations on the rise, there was a sense of normalcy and safety.
However, once we get to the colder months and people are stuck indoors, will the behavior of individuals change? Will people continue to be willing to travel to Las Vegas? Or will travelers be less inclined to visit the busy city due to the potential to catch the virus?
Only time will tell if players will be willing to visit Las Vegas or if the city will continue to see a decrease in travelers as COVID-19 cases continue to pop up in Nevada.