To the city and people of Las Vegas tourism is everything. Since its discovery as a small oasis of greenery amidst the harsh, sun-baked Mojave Desert, Las Vegas has grown into one of the most popular destinations for visitors.
In 2008 alone, more than 37 million tourists visited Las Vegas. Gambling, fine dining, world-class resorts and entertainment of all sorts continue to pull in large numbers of vacationers, not just from across the United States, but from around the globe.
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, gambling bought in revenues of over six billion dollars in 2008. Slot machines are everywhere. Not only will you find them numbering in the thousands in each of the major hotel casinos, but some places as well. We discovered slots in small restaurants, inside the tiny terminal used to fly visitors over the Grand Canyon, as well as at the main airport – McCarran International. All the large casinos also offer keno, poker, roulette, blackjack and more as standard fare.
But it's not just consumers who flock to Las Vegas every year. Las Vegas is also one of the most popular locations for business gatherings of all types and sizes. Conventions are huge here. In 2008 alone, 22,454 conventions and trade shows were held in this city, collectively bringing in more than 6 million delegates and keeping the hotels, restaurants and other attractions teeming with traffic and activity.
Although the national average for hotel occupancy is around 60%, in Vegas the average occupancy rate jumps to almost 90%. It's no wonder that Vegas continues expand with new resorts and attractions being added on a regular basis.
Most vacation visits to Las Vegas are short and sweet 3 or 4 night packages. But with Vegas being such a 24-hour hotbed of non-stop entertainment with plenty to see and do, that's all most people need to get their Vegas fix.