Labor Day weekend proves big for Las Vegas economy
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Whether by car or airplane, more than 300,000 people have flocked to Las Vegas this holiday weekend.
It comes after a variety of high-profile travel websites named Las Vegas as one of the top destinations for Labor Day.
Big crowds could be seen Sunday on the Strip where visitors were walking shoulder to shoulder, and cars were waiting bumper to bumper.
"You ask why I've come to Vegas, why not?" asked J.J. Connelly, from Nebraska. "It's got it all. What else is there to do on Labor Day?"
Tomas Cerna, who's visiting from Mexico, provided a similar response. "It's Vegas. Where else would you want to go for a long weekend?"
For most tourists, it seems to be a no-brainer.
"You're always told that you're going to have a good time in Vegas," says Aaron Annese, who's visiting for the first time, from Australia. "It has lived up to its reputation."
Downtown Las Vegas is also living up to the almighty tourist dollar. On Fremont Street, visitors are flying high on zip lines, snapping photos, and taking in all the sights and sounds.
"There are people everywhere, even at all times of the night," Annese describes. "There's a ton of traffic and activity. It's just been crazy."
"Crazy" is translating to cash for the local economy. Research shows there are more Labor Day visitors this year than last year.
And despite rising gas prices from Hurricane Isaac, this year's visitors are spending more.
According to AAA, that's a direct result of improving consumer confidence and an unwavering desire to travel.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is projecting 90 percent hotel occupancy rates citywide. Hotels are also charging more for rooms this weekend, indicating Las Vegas is in high demand.
"Most of my money is going to hotel and food," Connelly says. "I'll probably end up spending about $1,500 or $2,000 total for this weekend. But, it's totally worth it."
"So far, I've probably spent about $800 in the last few days," Annese adds. "And I'm not planning on stopping anytime soon."
The LVCVA estimates non-gaming revenue from this weekend to be close to $180 million.