Las Vegas Tourism Levels Decrease Amidst COVID-19 Variant
As delta variants increase in Las Vegas, the tourism totals began to fall in August.
For about a year and a half, Las Vegas, Nevada has been trying to get a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic. In the beginning, casinos shut down in order to slow the spread of the virus. Eventually, venues were allowed to reopen at lower capacity levels and then open at 100%. In the early summer months, the number of visitors to Sin City began to increase. However, over time, it seems the numbers are starting to dwindle again due to the delta variant infections. Will the city suffer more economic losses due to continued struggles with the virus?
Lower Visitor Totals
Back in August, it was reported that 2.9 million people came to Las Vegas, based on information from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The figure is quite low considering the 3.3 million in visitors from July. The Authority’s Kevin Bagger spoke with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and stated that the lower tourist numbers were due to an increase in COVID cases.
Bagger stated that as the delta variant began to see a larger increase in positive cases, visitors started to drop beginning in August. It seems like more people are testing positive, it is keeping travelers from heading to the area for work trips or entertainment.
The summer months looked like they would start a traveler boom, but early visits resulted in people catching the virus and returning home to transmit it to others. Some even battled the virus and came near death or passed away.
Along with visitor totals declining, Las Vegas also saw a drop in hotel occupancy rates. When comparing August to July, the dip was more than 72%. The average room rate in August on a daily basis was $140.32, which was lower than the July rate by almost 8%.
The airport saw lower numbers as well which led to less travelers to Las Vegas casinos and hotels. Without the incoming travel from states outside of Nevada as well as international travel, the numbers will continue to decrease.
While the casinos are not seeing the traffic they would like, they are earning revenue wins. In August, casinos in the state earned a win of $1.165 billion. This is the sixth consecutive month that casinos in the state have earned over $1 billion. The July total was higher however at over $1.3 billion.
Other Factors to Consider
It is also important to consider other factors when looking at these totals. The summer months were busy due to vacation time being used and more weekend trip getaways. As vaccinations began to increase, people felt safer when traveling to Las Vegas for entertainment purposes. Conventions also began again, which brought in people from across the United States.
School has also started back, so that will cause a lower number of travelers as well. People will be unable to take long trips away due to the need for kids to be in school. This factor will play a role in the tourist numbers for the state, especially involving those from out of state.
It will be interesting to see if the numbers continue to go down as the winter months come in. Will travelers feel less safe if COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state? Or, is life simply getting in the way and causing people to halt travel due to school and work. We shall see as the numbers come in over the next few months what is playing a role, if anything, to the decrease in traveler traffic to Las Vegas.