November 28, 2011- Even though the overall economy is still sluggish in the U.S., tourism officials in Las Vegas say the nations gambling capital is making a steady return to pre-recession times. Officials say over 39 million visitors are expected for 2011. Only once prior were the numbers that high for Las Vegas.
Occupancy is up to a staggering 85% and that is over 20 percentage points higher than the national average. The city has seen 19 straight months of increased visitor numbers making it one of the few visitor destinations making its way back from the financial problems of 2009.
Growth in visitors is expected to continue into 2012. Over 260,000 people are employed in the tourism industry in the area of Southern Nevada. Since late November of 2009, the industry has added over 15,800 new jobs, representing a 6% increase in the sector.
City tourism officials just announced a new three-year strategic plan to increase tourism even more. The cutting-edge, aggressive plan announced on November 17, targets specific markets to increase visitors. Two markets the plan determined were very important were international and business travelers.
Two international markets the city will target with heavy marketing are China and Brazil, trying to take advantage of the two emerging economies and the increasing size of each countries middle class. International travelers represent the city’s best opportunity of visitor growth since they tend to stay for longer and spend more than U.S. travelers.