Friday, June 12, 2009 | 3 a.m.
Southern Nevada visitor volume showed the shallowest decline in 11 months and weekend occupancy rates were ahead of last year’s pace in April.
But Las Vegas benefited from a quirk in the calendar — Easter and many spring break vacations occurred in April this year, but in March last year.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said 3.3 million people visited Southern Nevada in April, 2.9 percent fewer than a year earlier. The weekend occupancy rate inched up 0.4 percentage points to 94.9 percent for the month.
But other key indicators languished, particularly convention attendance, down 23 percent to 414,764; number of conventions and meetings held, down 29.7 percent to 1,843; and average daily room rate, down 30.7 percent to $94.08.
Highway traffic showed significant gains in April. Traffic on all major highways was up 5.6 percent to 87,878 daily trips over last year and traffic on Interstate 15 at the California border soared 11.3 percent to 41,083 daily trips.
The state Gaming Control Board reported that Clark County gaming revenue was off 13.6 percent to $734.1 million in April, with Strip revenue off 15.8 percent to $441.4 million.
Statewide, gaming revenue fell 14.1 percent from April 2008 to $859.4 million.
Luck played a role in April’s results. Frank Streshley, chief of tax and licensing for the Control Board, said if the casinos had won at the same rate as they did in April 2008 they would have collected $66 million more.
Two regions in Southern Nevada had improved gaming win results compared with last year, thanks to casino openings.
The Boulder strip win was up 2.3 percent to $76.3 million. The region includes Henderson, where the M Resort opened in March and Eastside Cannery opened in August. North Las Vegas, where the Aliante Station opened in November, showed a 5.4 percent increase in revenue. All other regions declined, most of them double-digit percentage decreases. South Lake Tahoe had the worst performance, down 35.4 percent to $15.8 million.
The convention authority, which also monitors visitor trends in Laughlin and Mesquite, said visitor volume was off 15.3 percent to 221,040 in Laughlin and the average daily room rate plunged 24.7 percent to $46.69. Room occupancy was off 7.2 percentage points to 68.9 percent.
In Mesquite, visitor volume fell 26.1 percent to 105,049, but the average daily room rate was up 0.4 percent to $59.58. Hotel occupancy climbed 1.2 percentage points to 92.2 percent, thanks to a 27.4 percent decrease in room inventory that resulted when owners of the Oasis closed rooms to increase demand.