The numbers showing the effects of the pandemic on Las Vegas are stark, even knowing the bleak landscape of the Strip since the closure of casino-hotels in mid-March.

Visitor volume in April fell 97% from the same month in 2019, with only 106,900 visiting the city, and convention traffic fell 100%, according to statistics released on May 29 by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

"With the vast majority of the destination's hotel rooms temporarily unavailable to book, occupancy was 1.7%, while the average day rates among those properties that were open came in at approximately $60," the LVCVA said in an executive summary. Tourism was limited to those staying with friends or relatives and those in nongaming properties that remained open for essential transient lodging.

At McCarran Airport, the primary way most visitors reach Las Vegas, only 152,716 passengers passed through the gates in April, a 96.4% drop from April 2019.

"April will go down in history as the month that Nevada's casinos stopped, and the economic consequences will be felt for months, if not years, to come," said David G. Schwartz, gambling historian, professor and associate vice provost at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in an Associated Press report.

Employment statistics also show the dire situation. The Las Vegas area lost more than 200,000 jobs from March to April, putting its unemployment rate at 33.5%, according to figures released last week by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

While May's numbers likely will be no better, the hope is that June will reverse the trend, with hotel-casinos expected to open on June 4 and start catering to what several tourism officials have characterized as a pent-up demand.


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