Saturday, May 31, 2008

Vacations in Vegas Dying Down?

Las Vegas - the city of partying, gambling, and more - seems to be lacking in its excitement due to the rising cost of products such as gas and food. Every extra penny that would-be tourists reluctantly spend at gas stations and grocery stores is one less cent that won’t be slipped into a slot machine, placed in a desk clerk’s hand in hopes for a room upgrade, or spent to buy cheap flashy souvenirs.

Steve Chen states that, “It feels more expensive these days than it was last year.” Chen and his friends are scheduled to arrive in Vegas soon, but when they do get there they expect to pay a lot more attention to what they spend than past visits to the city of lights. In order to save money, Chen states that what they’re looking for this time around are bars or lounges that won’t charge a cover.

The tourism statistics from March report that Vegas’ visitation is flat compared to last year, with almost 10 million visitors. Although the city still leads the nation in tourism, the occupancy is down to 89% and room rates down almost 3%, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. In order to bring in more people, many large resorts are reducing room prices, giving away free food, and providing gambling and entertainment comps.

It certainly is not surprising that people are finding it difficult to put aside money for a Vegas trip. According to the American Automobile Association, compared to last year, the average cost for a gallon of gas is up 17% in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Our bare necessities in food - milk, eggs, and meat - have prices that have risen tremendously since last year. Contrasting, the value of homes is lower than last year and might drop even further.

All these fluctuations in the economy make it very hard for most people to open up their wallets for a vacation in Vegas (or anywhere, for that matter). Despite the recent economic status, it doesn’t seem like Vegas will shrivel up and blow away any time soon. Even Chen stated, “I still have got to relax and try to get away.”

2 comments: said...

I don't think this is too much cause for alarm. If room rates are staying at 89% while room prices are only down slightly, that indicates pretty strong demand.

Let's face it: The past few years have been an aberration, not the norm. Room rates used to be more moderate and cheap/free entertainment was the draw. No one was spending $1000 per group for bottle service at clubs.

People will always keep coming to town. They are just returning to the spending habits tourists exhibited here 4-5 years ago, not so much during the recent boom

UK Poker Player said...

Good article. Am not surprised by what they say. The increase in food and gas prices is effecting all parts of the economy. It makes sense that the tourism statistics show that Vegas’ visitation is flat compared to last year... it' still my favourite place on earth though :)