Las Vegas tourists take to the road

Dec 11, 2001 5:44 AM

While airport officials lamented the decline in passenger count in the aftermath of the September attacks, the Nevada Department of Transportation was recording an increase in automobile traffic on Interstate 15.

For the month of October, northbound traffic headed into Las Vegas jumped 5.8% when all the days were counted but moved up anywhere from 10.9% to 20.6% on each Friday of the month.

State officials said that for the entire calendar year, traffic on I-15 has increased just .3%.

Showing dramatic increases in traffic were the main routes into Laughlin. Officials said they believed the truck embargo across Hoover Dam was responsible for a great deal of the increase.

Travel experts have noted recently that because of the concern about air travel being exhibited by some Americans the increase in automobile traffic in the western states has become the focus of all leisure marketers. “Everyone needs to target California because that’s where the people and the dollars are,” said a Los Angeles hotel consultant.

This is exactly what motivated the Las Vegas Visitor’s and Convention Bureau to shift its advertising dollars to protect its California turf. California has led the parade among repeat visitors to Las Vegas, the NDT said recently. Fifty-nine percent of Southern California visitors have visited Las Vegas more than once in the past year compared to 34% of visitors from the rest of the USA.