Thursday, May 10, 2012 | 3:57 p.m.
Las Vegas visitor volume continued to climb in March despite a drop in convention attendance, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported Thursday.
The LVCVA said 3.5 million tourists visited the city in March, a 3.7 percent increase over March 2011. For the first quarter, visitor volume is up 3.6 percent over last year to 9.8 million, just under the pace needed to record an unprecedented 40 million visitors.
Convention attendance was down 3.9 percent to 513,010, in part because the Las Vegas Convention Center hosted the triennial ConExpo-Con/Agg construction equipment trade show that brought 120,000 people to the city in 2011. Convention attendance was down despite a 34.6 percent increase in the number of conferences and meetings held (2,302).
Occupancy rates were up in every category except weekends. Citywide occupancy was up 1.1 percentage points to 88.3 percent, with hotel occupancy up 1 point to 90.5 percent. Weekend occupancy fell 0.9 points to 94.4 percent.
The city’s average daily room rate also was off 3.5 percent to $107.21, but for the quarter, it was up 3.6 percent to $109.84.
Both auto and air traffic figures were up for the month, with traffic on all major highways up 0.9 percent to an average 101,223 vehicles per day and the number crossing the California-Nevada border up 7.9 percent to 40,304.
Earlier this month, McCarran International Airport reported a 2.5 percent increase in passengers to 3.7 million.
Visitor volume at Mesquite improved 6.3 percent to 105,494 visitors, but Laughlin continues to struggle with 8.4 percent fewer visitors to 198,482. The occupancy rate in Mesquite fell 2.3 percentage points to 90.9 percent and 4.6 points to 66.4 percent in Laughlin.
Mesquite’s average daily room rate fell 5.7 percent to $56.62 in March while Laughlin’s was up 5.9 percent to $40.01.