LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas continues to be known as a hotspot for gaming and gambling, but visitors today are spending more money on restaurants. The best part is many of the new and established restaurants in the valley are affordable. It's part of the reason why Las Vegas is becoming more popular as a foodie destination.
Don Contursi of Lip Smacking Foodie Tours has seen how the food and restaurant industry in the valley has grown. He's been taking tourists and locals to top restaurants in Las Vegas depending on their budget.
"Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world and now we're focused on food. People are finding food as their entertainment.... Restaurants are constantly changing both on the Strip and off the Strip. A lot of the chefs that are on the Strip are now opening up their own establishments whether it's downtown or Spring Mountain Road."
According to the latest data from Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), visitors in 2017 reported spending more on food and drink than in the past five years -- over $50 higher than the previous year's average.
Kevin Bagger of the LCVA says, "Las Vegas was known for its buffets way back when and it's still part of the experience but as far as now, we have all kinds of culinary options in Las Vegas."
Bagger attributes the restaurant industry boom to the ability of business owners in the valley to tap into the diverse culinary palate of the over 42 million visitors who come each year while also understanding locals' dining tastes.
"You can not just actually eat the food you can actually get in. You don't have to call 6 months ahead. You can actually enjoy the experience when you come here," says Bagger.