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Tourists spending more money in Vegas

Associated Press Associated Press 8/05/2016 Sally Ho

Tourists are spending more money on their trips to Sin City, according to a new report by the Las Vegas tourism board.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's latest visitor profile study shows average spending in most expense categories increased in 2015, including lodging, food and drinks, local transportation, shows and sightseeing. The length of the stays edged up, to an average of 4.4 days for the record 42.3 million visitors last year. In 2014 Las Vegas trips lasted 4.2 days.

The data is based on information volunteered by 3600 random tourists polled at various casino-hotel properties throughout the year. The agency that commissioned the yearly survey is funded by county room taxes generated by the hotels it considers partners.

Kevin Bagger, executive director of the tourism board's research centre, said he interpreted the latest numbers as a sign visitors were choosing to spend more for a quality experience, as opposed to the costs of such expenses going up overall. Nearly all survey participants reported being either "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with their trip.

"Our visitors are comfortable spending more," Bagger said.

The largest jump in spending was for shows. On an average trip, tourists spent $US61.95 ($A83) to see some type of performance, including lounge acts, headliners or comedians. It amounted to a 30 per cent increase from the $US47.56 they spent in 2014, although the overall percentage of visitors who attended such a show went down to 61 per cent. In 2014 65 per cent of visitors took in a show.

The average cost of lodging also increased significantly, visitors reporting spending $US102.64 per night, up nearly 19 per cent from the year before. The figure did not include rooms bought through a vacation package or was a complimentary offering from the hotels. The price of vacation packages did go up, too, by about 5 per cent to $US857.43.

Among the reported categories, only the amount of shopping dollars for an average trip went down. The average tourist spent $US122.66 per trip shopping, an 18 per cent decline from the year before. That marks a five-year low for the shopping category, while hotels, food and drinks, transportation, shows and sightseeing all hit a five-year high in 2015.

Citing the recent strength of the US dollar, Bagger said he attributed the shopping dip to a 3 per cent decline in international tourists, who tended to shop more on their trips to Las Vegas than domestic visitors.

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