Is Vegas Bouncing Back? Las Vegas Visitor Volumes Continue to Rise as Virgin Atlantic Launch New Manchester to Vegas Direct Flight

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2011 January and February tourism figures for Las Vegas have been released and have positive year-on-year growth suggesting that Vegas may be coming out of its recent decline in visitor volume.

LowcostUSA.co.uk

“Prior to the introduction of this flight, customers had no choice but to fly from one of the London airports if they wanted a direct flight, which was a major inconvenience to those that lived towards the northern parts of England and the UK

Back in 2007, Las Vegas was a great place to be - boasting a room inventory of 132,947 and catering for a total visitor volume of 39,196,761 for that year. Visitor volume, visitor spending, occupancy rates and average room rate had all been on a straight line upward trend since 2004; times were good – Las Vegas was booming, the city was growing, the tourism industry was rife and showed no signs of stopping.

And then came the recession. High foreclosure rates, poor unemployment figures and a decline in tourism were to follow; it’s fair to say that Nevada took a metaphorical beating from the economic downturn.

As a result, 2008 saw a year on year decline of 4.4% in visitor volume and a 5 year occupancy rate low of 86%. This worrying downward trend continued into 2009 with a further 3% year on year reduction in visitor volume and visitor spending resulting in the worst figures reported since 2004. The Nevada tourism industry witnessed its poorest performance for years – and alarm bells were starting to ring.

Economic experts questioned if Vegas had grown too fast during the “boom” years and whether Vegas would ever truly recover from this downturn stating the dangers of having a city that relies too heavily on cyclic industries such as mining and tourism.

But now, in 2011, signs of a recovery are clearly evident and it seems that the worst of the storm may be over. 2010 figures showed that visitor volume and visitor spending had increased 2.7% and 4.8% respectively in a year-on-year comparison with 2009. Even more positive - figures for the months of January and February in 2011 show further year on year growth in both the aforementioned metrics.

It’s easy to get carried away with the numbers, but Vegas isn’t out of the woods yet; these figures are still well down from the peak times of 2007. There’s no doubt, though, that the slow and steady rise is a very encouraging trend.

Interestingly, during the “doom and gloom” period, the percentage of foreign Vegas visitors has risen from 13% in 2006 to over 18% in 2010. That’s a 38% increase in population share which indicates strong growth for this market segment despite the downturn.

In the UK, especially, more and more holidaymakers are heading out to Vegas to take advantage of the high class, relatively cheap accommodation and all-round sunshine that’s on offer. As a result of this trend, LowcostUSA (the las vegas holidays specialist) now offer the choice of flying directly from Manchester airport to Mccarran international – a route that’s been recently introduced by Virgin Atlantic.

Martin Palmer, commercial director at LowcostUSA explains the reasons why the change has been welcomed by customers:-

“Prior to the introduction of this flight, customers had no choice but to fly from one of the London airports if they wanted a direct flight, which was a major inconvenience to those that lived towards the northern parts of England and the UK.

The new Manchester flights have been greeted with open arms by customers that may otherwise have to travel upwards of 200 miles to catch their flights. Not only is this far more convenient for them, but it also saves them money during a period in which, for a lot of people, times are tough. The new flights have already proven very popular with our customers.”

So far, only official tourism figures for January and February in 2011 have been released. Going forward, all eyes will be on Las Vegas for the next 10 months to understand whether this new found hope is merely a momentary respite or the start of a full blown tourism recovery.

http://www.lowcostusa.co.uk is a UK-based travel agency specializing holidays to the United States.

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Martin Palmer
Low Cost USA
+44 (0)845 519 2002
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