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Gamblers Attendance Drops in Las Vegas.

The local tourism industry of the Las Vegas Valley had a further slump with reported fewer year-over-year visitors for the third consecutive month. In a drop of 0.5 percent from July 2005, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said that the city hosted 3.37 million monthly visitors. Year-to-date, the citywide visitor count of more than 22.73 million was up just 0.3 percent compared with the first seven months of 2005, which was ultimately the busiest year in local history with nearly 38.6 million annual visitors. The 2006 forecast released at the start of the year stated that the authority predicted more than 39.1 million visitors, which has since been downgraded to 38.7 million, a gain of just 0.4 percent.

‘Economic factors are affecting the value-oriented market and properties, including gas prices and other concerns,’ said John Piet, the authority's senior research analyst. Although motel residence fell by more than 10 percent to just 63.8 percent, occupancy rates for the valley's hotels reached the 95 percent mark. ‘We haven't seen a July figure that high since 1993 when there were 60,000 fewer (hotel) rooms,’ said Piet.

July's average daily room rate exceeded $104, a 10 percent gain from a year ago, however total room nights occupied slipped by 0.3 percent. Conventions helped the local market following a 22.1 percent gain in the number of events held, and an 11.1 percent jump in convention attendance. Highway traffic slipped by 1.6 percent, though McCarran International Airport hosted nearly 4.1 million arriving and departing passengers, a 2.4 percent gain.

Stephen Holder.
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