Driven by sports and entertainment, Las Vegas visitors spent 33% more in 2022 than 2019

April 11, 2023 9:02 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
April 11, 2023 9:02 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

The average Las Vegas visitor spent a record $1,156 in 2022, boosting visitor spending to an all-time high of $44.9 billion, despite the city falling 3.7 million short of 2019 visitation levels prior to the pandemic.

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A report issued Tuesday by research firm Applied Analysis and presented to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s board of directors shows that 2022 overall spending grew by 24.4% over 2021 and was 21.6% higher compared to 2019.

The annual report outlines economic impacts associated with the region’s tourism industry and convention travel, including visitor spending on rooms, dining, shopping, sports, local transportation, and other activities and amenities.

Las Vegas hosted 38.8 million visitors in 2022, down 8.7% from the 42.5 million in 2019.

On a per-visitor basis, the $1,156 spent in 2022 is 3.3% higher than 2021, but 33.3% higher than the $867 per visitor in 2019. That breaks down to $1,106 for leisure travelers and $1,495 for convention-goers.

Compared to 2019, visitor spending increased for all categories except sightseeing and spending by category mostly resembled pre-pandemic patterns with some notable shifts, according to Brian Gordon, principal with Applied Analysis.

“While fewer visitors attended shows compared to 2019, those who did spent significantly more, representing 10.1% of total visitor spending, up from 6% in 2019,” Gordon said.

Las Vegas, as a tourist destination, has experienced dramatic growth in recent years, with the addition of new resort properties, expanded convention and meeting space, professional sports teams, and new venues such as the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium. Add in the pent-up demand coming out of the pandemic, Las Vegas has gone to another level, Gordon said.

“Consumers have been spending more than they have historically and the numbers of visitors coming to Las Vegas is rebounding from the height of COVID. Sports- and entertainment-related activities and other special events have been driving the recovery and the premiums that consumers have been paying. That’s a key component to the increased-spend profile.”

The MSG Sphere concert venue is scheduled to open this fall, along with the Fontainebleau resort. Las Vegas will welcome Formula 1 to the Strip in November and the Super Bowl in February.

“These results are a powerful testament that what we do in concert with our resort partners to market this destination has an undeniable impact on our community,” said LVCVA CEO and President Steve Hill. “We’re proud of this city and this industry and know that the upcoming offerings will add to that success.”

The report showed the total economic output related to visitor spending reached a record $79.3 billion in 2022, a 24.7% increase from the previous record set in 2019 and half of the region’s gross economic output. It also notes that southern Nevada’s tourism industry remained the largest regional employer in 2022, directly employing an estimated 229,440. With direct and indirect employment included, the total reached an estimated 358,880, a 21.3% increase over the prior year.

The conventions and meetings segment began its recovery in 2021. By 2022, convention attendance for the year climbed to 5 million, more than double 2021 attendance, but just under 25 percent below the 2019 total, Gordon said.

Historically, the convention segment boosts visitation during weekdays and helps keep room occupancy rates high when leisure visitors are less likely to be in town,

“While 2022 convention attendance was below pre-pandemic levels, southern Nevada’s convention and meeting segment generated notable economic impacts during the year,” Gordon said. “Traditionally, survey data indicates that convention visitors spend more per visit than the average leisure visitor. This relationship held true in 2022, with the average convention visitor spending $1,495 per trip, about a third higher than the $1,106 spent by the average leisure visitor.”

In 2022, convention-visitor spending directly supported an estimated 38,120 jobs, $2.1 billion in wages, and $7.5 billion in direct economic impact. Including indirect impacts, the convention sector supported an estimated 59,630 jobs, $3.3 billion in wages, and $13.2 billion in overall economic output, illustrating the segment’s importance to the tourism industry as a whole, Gordon said.

And there’s some room to grow after a record 6.6 million convention visitors in 2019.

“The full recovery of southern Nevada’s convention and meeting segment, as well as the rebound of international visitation, will be keys in maintaining the recovery trajectory of the regional tourism industry,” Gordon said.

The Las Vegas Convention Center hosts about one-sixth of regional convention attendees per year. In 2022, the LVCC’s impacts recovered in line with the overall recovery in the convention and meeting segment, Gordon said. During the year, the facility hosted 56 conventions with a combined attendance of 846,400, nearly double that of 2021. The direct impact of those attendees was 6,490 jobs, $356.1 million in wages, and $1.3 billion in total output. Including indirect and induced impacts, those totals rise to 10,160 jobs, $569.2 million in wages, and $2.2 billion in economic output.

The report’s findings are based on data from the LVCVA; the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation; the Nevada Gaming Control Board; Clark County School District; the Nevada Commission on Tourism; and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.