LAS VEGAS VISITOR STATISTICS were released last week for January, and the numbers were down across the board. According to a report from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, visitor volume dropped 0.6% compared with January 2007, the largest decline in visitor volume in 12 months. Total convention attendance was 677,978 for the month, the weakest start of the year for convention numbers since January 2002, just after 9/11. January occupancy levels dropped 0.5% year-over-year. Gaming revenues for Clark County were down 4.1%. The total number of passengers passing through Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport dropped by 2.8% in January, on the heels of a 2.5% decline in November and a 3.2% drop in December, marking the first decline in numbers of passengers through McCarran since August 2003. And the average daily auto traffic on major highways into Las Vegas was 74,399 vehicles in January, the lowest number in three years.
DECLINING NUMBERS could translate into better deals for Las Vegas travelers in 2008. The average daily room rate in January was down 2.5%, to $130.96. Average daily room rates also dropped by 3.8% year-over-year in November, but prior to that Las Vegas hadn't seen a slide in average daily room rates in nearly five years.
TLC CASINO ENTERPRISES has acquired the historic Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel, located on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. This marks the second casino purchase for the Las Vegas-based company; it acquired the Four Queens Hotel & Casino in 2003. Binion's is an historic conglomerate of three of the earliest Las Vegas casinos; the Apache Hotel, the Boulder Club and the Mint. TLC Casino has announced several planned changes for Binion's: all remaining coin-operated slot and video poker machines will be converted to ticket-in-ticket-out technology; the casino floor will be redesigned to improve customer traffic flow; and the hotel rooms and some public areas will be remodeled.
WYNN LAS VEGAS has announced plans to open the hotel's new Encore Suites tower in December 2008. In addition to 2,034 luxury suites, ranging in size from 700 square feet to 5,800 square feet, the tower will include five new signature restaurants, 11 retail outlets, seven bars and lounges, a nightclub, a spa, a European-inspired pool area and 60,000 square feet of event space. Reservations for the convention and meeting space are available now by calling (702) 770-7000 or by visiting www.wynnmeetings.com.
MGM MIRAGE is making the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art at the Bellagio available for private events. Groups of up to 200 can reserve the gallery on an hourly basis. Fees are $2,000 for the first hour and $1,500 for each additional hour. The gallery is showcasing "American Modernism" through Oct. 15. For more information, call (702) 891-1200 or visit www.mgmmirageevents.com.
Las Vegas Editor: Dean Blaine
Phone: (650) 348-1752
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