Though Nevada’s economy has meaningfully diversified in recent years, tourism remains the main driver of the state’s economy. Currently, the tourism industry employs almost one in four Nevadans and pays out nearly 20 percent of all wages. In particular, the health of Southern Nevada’s tourism industry defines the state’s economy, because such a large portion of visitors to Nevada are going to Southern Nevada. The region’s tourism industry saw slight across-the-board improvements in 2019 over 2018. Metrics that improved included visitor volume, convention attendance, occupancy rates, downtown Las Vegas gaming revenues and average daily room rates. The only metric that did not improve was Las Vegas Strip gaming revenue, which held flat.

After decreases in 2017 and 2018, visitation increased in 2019 by 1.1 percent to 42.6 million people, which was the highest total since 2016 and the second-highest total on record. Strong convention attendance helped drive visitor growth, increasing by 2.3 percent in 2019 to 6.6 million, the highest total since 2017. Convention visitors accounted for 15.6 percent of all visitors in 2019. Convention attendance in 2019 was bolstered by the return of conventions such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists to Las Vegas (adding 20,000 attendees according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority). Additionally, McCarran International Airport continued to experience strong passenger volumes, with total passengers at the airport surpassing 50 million for the first time in 2019. Passengers at McCarran in 2019 totaled 51.5 million, an increase of 3.7 percent over the 2018 total.

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