The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. For the Las Vegas tourist industry, it has caused considerable problems and the future remains uncertain.
It wasn’t just the fact that venues in Las Vegas closed temporarily. A tourist destination is always going to struggle when there’s a distinct lack of travellers. Overseas visitors are either less willing to go on a dream holiday to Las Vegas, can’t afford to or find themselves in lockdown and unable to travel.
Figures released in June showed just how serious the problem is facing the Las Vegas tourist industry. The number of visitors to Las Vegas was down a massive 70.5 percent compared to 2019 figures. Total occupancy was 40.9 percent down 59.8 percent from June 2019.
It’s not just tourists that are absent in Las Vegas. An important source of funding is the convention business. The ongoing health crisis has hit this business hard with no business at all in June.
Sport also attracts tourists to Las Vegas and that has also been badly hit. A major event scheduled for Las Vegas was the arrival of the National Football League (NFL). The Raiders have relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas and playing at the new Allegiant Stadium. No one could have guessed that instead of tourists adding an NFL game to their list of Las Vegas activities, the games were instead played in an empty stadium.
Other Las Vegas teams such as the Golden Knights and Aces are playing elsewhere in bubbles, again affecting Las Vegas tourist income levels. Major boxing events are also being held behind closed doors. No fans mean no tourists and that drags down the business for everything from hotels to restaurants and casinos.
It’s been a difficult year for the Las Vegas casino industry. Temporary closures took place earlier this year as the COVID-19 pandemic grew worse. Just like a tourist can decide to stay at home, that’s also the case for the casino customers. However, while a tourist loses out on a holiday, gamblers can still play at home.
Unable to go to Las Vegas and have a great time gambling, they stayed at home and either opened accounts with or just spent more time gambling online.
As the casinos began to open again, not all their regular customers were ready to return to Las Vegas gambling and who love playing poker went to sites such as GGPoker. With the pandemic still hitting hard in the USA and personal finances being down, many have continued to stay safe and continue to gamble online.
Tourism statistics did improve in August, but they were still 57 percent down based on 2019 figures. The problem is that permitted venue capacities are down to 50 percent and midweek occupancy rates are also struggling, down over 30 percent. The convention business is still non-existent. How business goes during the holiday season is going to be vital for the Las Vegas tourist industry and the city’s economy.