Las Vegas Sun

October 15, 2019

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Las Vegas sees record tourism, visitor spending in 2016

Las Vegas Sign

Steve Marcus

Tourists take photos at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign Saturday, March 14, 2015, on the Strip.

Updated Wednesday, March 15, 2017 | 9:45 a.m.

A record number of tourists visited Southern Nevada last year and spent a record amount of money, according to a report that economic analyst Jeremy Aguero presented today to the board of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Some 42.9 million people visited Southern Nevada last year, spending $35.5 billion — 16.3 percent more than in 2015 when they left behind $30.5 billion, Aguero said. Per person, Las Vegas visitors spent an average of $827, up from $721 in 2015.

Convention attendees made up 14.7 percent of all visitors to Southern Nevada last year, up 7.1 percent from 2015.

The presentation highlighted the impact of tourism on the local economy. Among the report’s findings:

• One in four people in Southern Nevada are directly employed in the tourism industry.

• Tourism wages and salaries total $11 billion, or 26.2 percent of the $41.9 billion earned by Southern Nevadans.

• Annual visitor spending is equal to about a third of Southern Nevada’s gross product — $35.5 billion, or 34.4 percent, of the gross product of $103.3 billion. Directly and indirectly, tourism supplied $59.6 billion, or 57.7 percent, of Southern Nevada’s gross product.

• Nearly half of those employed in Southern Nevada have jobs because of tourism — 407,000 people, or 44.2 percent, of the 921,700 people working in Southern Nevada.

The region’s economy, however, still lacks diversity, Aguero said. “And that’s not because businesses are not moving here. In reality, the tourism industry continues to expand at such a clip, that it’s hard for other industries to compete,” he said.

In addition to hearing Aguero’s presentation, the board voted to approve an early transfer of the Cashman Center to the city of Las Vegas. The facility includes Cashman Field, home to the Las Vegas 51s minor league baseball team, and a convention center.

Cashman Field will still be operated by the LVCVA, via a lease agreement, for another five years. The city will run the theater and meeting halls.

The board also got an update on a major expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Funding for the expansion and to help pay for a proposed NFL stadium to bring the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas was approved last year during a special session of the Legislature.

Board member and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman used the vote on the Cashman lease to again pitch Cashman Center as the ideal location for the NFL stadium.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the total value of tourism wages and salaries. | (March 15, 2017)

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