Are pre-COVID tourism rates returning to Las Vegas?

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The Las Vegas Strip as seen from the Eiffel Tower. Photo by Allister Dias

The entertainment industry, still dealing with the fallout from COVID’s first hit, has faced a sharp decline in tourism rates, heavily impacting the way Las Vegas operates and stays afloat. 

Entering the third year of the pandemic, there appears to be a glimmer of hope for the Las Vegas entertainment industry: music concerts.

Recently, artists like Katy Perry, Anita Baker, Carrie Underwood and more have announced their residency for 2022 in Las Vegas. As COVID tensions continue to ease, the frequency of tourism has seen an almost pre-COVID recovery, in terms of attendance and large gatherings. 

With more and more artists bringing their shows back to the Las Vegas Valley, what does this mean for tourism rates? Is the idea of continuing music events reasonable at such a time?

“I believe that Vegas is well known for its party life and including more well-known artists will only bring more attention and enjoyment to our bustling city,” said Justin Ramos, a freshman psychology major at UNLV.

“Having more shows is a great way to attract people,” Ramos elaborated. “All types of people, as long as there is a plethora of diverse entertainment.”

Ramos went on to further explain how bringing more attention back to Las Vegas can help bolster new growth and further drive the efficiency of the economy. The inclusion of new shows and entertainment events can help attract a broad, diverse audience back to Las Vegas and expand a broader economic range.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, hotel rates and overall attendance were up 66.8% in 2021, compared to 42.1% reported in 2020. Although quite small compared to 2019’s 88.9% rate, it’s safe to assume that rising attendance rates will continue as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease. With travel returning back to normal, travelers eager to attend music events will flock to Las Vegas to relive pre-COVID experiences.

Although attendance for Las Vegas events is gaining a resurgence, the music industry has had a bit of a rough start regaining a foothold in Las Vegas. Hit artists have begun postponing their residencies, such as Adele putting a halt on her Caesars Palace residency due to delivery delays and COVID-19 scares among her circle. Such elements could also negatively impact other artists and their respective residencies. However, it seems to be unique to only Adele at this time.

However, cancellation of certain shows have not hindered tourists from returning back to Las Vegas for musical entertainment. According to AARP, October of 2021 saw the largest visitation rates since the start of the pandemic; 3,390,200 visitors. 

With more and more visitors coming to Vegas, the Las Vegas economy has seen a noticeably strong recovery. Tourism and entertainment generates approximately $58 billion and houses 370,000 jobs, which is pivotal to the overall economy of Las Vegas.

As COVID-19 treatments continue to become more prevalent among the populace, Las Vegas is poised to return back to full capacity. Las Vegas shows, in combination with safety measures, are also expected to continue to grow in size and regularity, thus bolstering both tourism and economic flourishment. 

Given the current economic projections, Las Vegas shows should continue to grow in frequency to nurture post-COVID economic growth.

It’s pivotal that Las Vegas reinstate music events to help drive economic growth in Las Vegas and grow the overall employment base, with all measures taken into consideration. As the old saying goes, the show must go on!

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