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LAS VEGAS-Tourism to Las Vegas appears to be stabilizing. Monthly totals for the four-month period beginning with April ranged between 2.98 million and 3.19 million, according to July data released late last week by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The visitation totals continue to come in below the comparable monthly totals for 2008 but the gap has been steadily shrinking, with July’s 1.3% decline the smallest margin year-to-date. The gap between 2009 and 2008 visitation is shrinking despite the stabilizing visitor totals because July is when the gap between 2008 and 2007 visitation started to widen.

Through the first half of 2008, visitation ranged from 0.4% below 2007 to 3.1% below 2007; in the second half of 2008 visitation ranged from 4.3% below 2007 to 10.9% below 2007, according to historical data provided by the LVCVA. As such, if visitation remains around 3 million monthly it should begin topping 2008 totals in September, when visitation in 2008 fell to 2.93 million, 10.1% below September 2007.

Hotel performance, meanwhile, continues to be relatively volatile. Average hotel occupancy in July was 88.1%, up 160 basis points from 86.5% in June but down 350 basis points from 91.6% in April. The average daily room rate also has bounced around. It was $86.23 in July, $84.50 in June, $96.96 in May and $94.08 in April.

Just like visitation, however, thanks to a poor second half of 2008, the year-over-year comparisons for 2009 are improving as the year wears on. July’s average daily room rate was 18.6% below the same month in 2008, the lowest spread this year.

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