Las Vegas reports small drop in visitors for 2013

A view of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

After posting record tourist visits in Las Vegas in 2012, visitor volume fell just short of the mark and the city’s elusive goal of attracting 40 million people.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority posted December numbers and 2013’s final tally Friday, hitting 39.69 million visitors for the year — just 58,801 shy of 2012’s total. The 2012 calendar had an extra day for Leap Year and an extra average day’s visitation would have pushed the count to a record.

In December, the LVCVA reported 2.96 million visitors, 2.8 percent fewer than in the same month a year ago.

Convention attendance reached 5.1 million for 2013, 3.3 percent more than the previous year, and the number of meetings, conventions and trade shows hosted climbed 1.9 percent to 22,027.

Occupancy rates were flat over 2013, but the distribution of guests changed. Hotel occupancy fell 0.3 percentage points to 87.1 percent, but motel occupancy went up 1.8 points to 59.8 percent. While weekend occupancy climbed 0.3 points to 91.1 percent, midweek stays were off 0.2 points to 81.4 percent.

For the year, the average daily room rate was up 2.4 percent to $110.72, far from the record average of $132.09 recorded in 2007.

Visitor volume was up slightly in Mesquite, but down slightly in Laughlin.

In Mesquite, about 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas on the Arizona border, visitation cracked the 1 million level for the first time since 2009 with 1.01 million, 1.5 percent more than in 2012.

In Laughlin, on the Colorado River 90 miles south of Las Vegas, there were 2.04 million visitors, down 1.3 percent from the previous year.

Other highlights from the LVCVA’s report wrapping up 2013:

• The busiest tourism month for Las Vegas in 2013: March, with 3.54 million. The leanest: December’s 2.96 million.

• In half of the calendar’s 12 months, there were more visitors than in the same month the previous year. The biggest jump: 4.6 percent in November. The biggest fall: December’s 2.8 percent.

• Las Vegas’ biggest convention month was January 2013 when 571,964 came for meetings and trade shows. The weakest: December’s 145,418.

• Las Vegas had the highest average daily room rate, $117.96, in May. The lowest: July, at $100.66.

• McCarran International Airport’s busiest month was May; the busiest month for the major highways through Las Vegas: July.