Published Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 | 11:32 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 | 2:15 p.m.
Las Vegas drew a record number of visitors last year, 42.9 million people, even more than tourism officials had predicted.
The numbers were part of a preliminary tally of 2016 visitor statistics compiled by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and released Tuesday.
Kevin Bagger, director of research for the LVCVA, said his department had forecast that 42.5 million people would visit in 2016, 4 million fewer than the final count. This is the third consecutive year a new visitation record was set. Last year’s number was 1.5 percent higher than 2015’s.
Other tourism indicators were also up. According to Bagger’s report, the city saw record convention attendance, with 6.3 million people attending conventions in 2016, 7.1 percent more than 2015.
Also, while Las Vegas’ room inventory increased only slightly, the occupancy rate went up 1.4 percent in 2016 when compared to 2015.
While only one new resort — The Lucky Dragon — opened last year, Bagger said the reason Las Vegas’ numbers continue to improve is that the city continually reinvests in amenities people want.
“We tend to get a constant reinvestment in our infrastructure,” Bagger said. He cited the Lucky Dragon, the Julius Tower at Caesars Palace, the Topgolf attraction on Koval Road, T-Mobile Arena, Park Theater at Monte Carlo and SpeedVegas, a luxury car-driving facility in the south end of the Las Vegas Valley.
The LVCVA also compiles tourism statistics for Mesquite and Laughlin. Mesquite saw 1.3 million tourists visit last year, an increase of 11.4 percent compared to 2015. Laughlin had 1.9 million visitors, an increase of 1.2 percent compared to 2015.
While Bagger said 2016 will be “a hard year to beat,” he predicted that 43.2 million people will visit Las Vegas in 2017.