Las Vegas visitors reportedly wagered less in 2009 than in previous years- more than $50 less.
A Las Vegas Visitor Profile released by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority found the average gambler budgeted about $481 per trip last year. That compares with almost $532 in 2008, more than $555 in 2007 and nearly $652 in 2006.
Gambling was just the tip of the economic iceberg: lodging, dining, shows and shopping were also casualties. The study found hotel spending per night was down 25% in 2009, to about $76; the average cost of a tour package was down 14%, to about $640; and the total spent on restaurants was down 8%, to about $250. Spending on shopping was down 16%, to about $102. Visitors spent an average of about $40 on shows, down 23%.
Our economy is tanking, but don’t tell that to the thousands of tourists that daily fly in helicopters to get a birdseye view of the majestic Grand Canyon. An average of 99 helicopters fly out daily from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, just six fewer than the 2005 peak. And that doesn’t include the additional 3,500 customers that are planned to fly daily from the new Boulder City Aerocenter [Las Vegas Backstage Access April 2 article].
The first phase of the proposed 229-acre Sloan heliport, costing an estimated $115 million and projected for a mid-2011 completion, will provide the home for 80 to 110 helipads.
That will make the heliport the biggest on the planet, say Federal Aviation Administration officials.
The heliport will also clear McCarran airport space for jetliners to bring much-needed tourists to boost the Las Vegas Valley’s economy, while safely moving helicopters away from crowded city neighborhoods.
The FAA has recently signed off on the environmental assessment that now paves the way for the Bureau of Land Management to transfer the Sloan heliport property to Clark County.
Heliport project groundbreaking is planned for early 2010.
Maverick Helicopters is planned to be the first tenant to lease heliport space, which may approved as early as April 7 when the Clark County commissioners meet to discuss the matter. Two more tour operators could join Maverick in occupying the heliport.