Thursday, March 24, 2011 | 4:41 p.m.
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The average Las Vegas tourist spent more and stayed longer in 2010 compared to a year earlier, a positive sign for the city's ailing tourism industry.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority released its annual visitor profile study Thursday after tracking the habits and behaviors of Las Vegas tourists. Several of the numbers in the report improved from 2009.
The report indicates the average visitor to Las Vegas in 2010 was likely to be married (79 percent), earned more than $40,000 per year (81 percent) and employed (66 percent). More than one-quarter of visitors were retired.
About 71 percent of all Las Vegas visitors in 2010 were older than 40, with the average age at about 49.
In 2010, 59 percent of all visitors traveled by ground and 41 percent arrived to Las Vegas by plane, according to the LVCVA report.
Visitors stayed an average of 3.6 nights and 4.6 days, both of which are up. During their stay, visitors paid an average of about $80 per night for their rooms, up from $76 in 2009, but down from 2006 to 2008.
But the report indicates tourists have found more to do than gamble in Las Vegas in recent years. While in Las Vegas, about 80 percent of visitors in 2010 gambled, down from 87 percent from 2006.
Among those who gamble, they spent an average of 2.9 hour at the tables or slots with an average spend of $466. Both numbers are down from recent years.
Similar to recent years, the LVCVA indicated about 16 percent of Las Vegas tourists purchased a trip package. The average cost of a vacation package in 2010 was $651, up from $640 in 2009, but down from $747 in 2008.
Aside from room costs, the report noted guests spent an average of $256 on food and drinks during their stay, up from $250 in 2009. In 2008, guests spent an average of $274.
The average party size of travelers to Las Vegas was 2.4 people in 2010, the same as the past two years, but down from 2.6 in 2006 and 2.5 in 2007, the report noted. About 7 percent of visitors traveled with children under the age of 21.
About 18 percent of visitors in 2010 indicated they were first-time visitors to Las Vegas — but it wouldn't be their last. Among all visitors, the average number of Las Vegas visits per person over the past five years was 5.9, down from 2006 to 2009.
About half of visitors (51 percent) said their primary reason for visiting Las Vegas was for vacation, up from 40 percent in 2009. Nine percent of visitors said they came primarily to gamble.