New report says tourists spending more money in Las Vegas

FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2011 file photo, runners stream southward on Las Vegas Boulevard during the Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas Marathon, always a big visitor draw in Las Vegas. A new report by the Las Vegas tourism board shows visitors are spending more money on their trips to Sin City. The latest statistics come from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which issued its visitor profile study results this month.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tourists are spending more money on their trips to Sin City, according to a new report by the Las Vegas tourism board.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority issued its visitor profile study this month, which showed average spending in most expense categories increased in 2015, including lodging, food and drinks, local transportation, shows and sightseeing. The length of the stays inched up, to an average of 4.4 days for the record 42.3 million visitors last year. In 2014, Las Vegas trips lasted 4.2 days.

The data is based on information volunteered by a total of 3,600 random tourists polled at various casino-hotel properties throughout the year. The agency that commissioned the yearly survey is funded by county room taxes generated by the hotels it considers partners.

Kevin Bagger, executive director of the tourism board’s research center, said he interprets the latest numbers as a sign that visitors are choosing to spend more for a quality experience, as opposed to the costs of such expenses going up overall. Nearly all survey participants reported being either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their trip.

“Our visitors are comfortable spending more,” Bagger said.

The largest jump in spending was for shows. On an average trip, tourists spent $61.95 to see some type of performance, including lounge acts, headliners or comedians. It amounted to a 30 percent increase from the $47.56 they spent in 2014, although the overall percentage of visitors who attended such a show went down to 61 percent. In 2014, 65 percent of visitors took in a show.

The average cost of lodging also saw a significant increase, with visitors reporting spending $102.64 per night, up nearly 19 percent from the year before. The figure did not include rooms that were bought through a vacation package or was a complimentary offering from the hotels. The price of vacation packages did go up, too, by about 5 percent to $857.43.

Among the reported categories, only the amount of shopping dollars for an average trip went down. The average tourist spent $122.66 per trip shopping, an 18 percent decline from the year before. This marks a five-year low for the shopping category, while hotels, food and drinks, transportation, shows and sightseeing all hit a five-year high in 2015.

Citing the recent strength of the U.S. dollar, Bagger said he attributes the shopping dip to a 3 percent decline in international tourists, who tend to shop more on their trips to Las Vegas than domestic visitors.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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