Las Vegas to get more visitors

Dec 22, 2009 5:02 PM


So Cal traffic to spike over the holidays

Tourist traffic from Southern California to Las Vegas is expected to increase over the holiday season, though the volume will still be far below pre-recession levels.

According to the Automobile Club of Southern California more Southern Californians are expected to travel over this Christmas-New Year’s holiday than last year, but the number of travelers will still be 27 percent fewer than the last December holiday period before the recession.

The Auto Club is projecting that seven million Southern Californians will take overnight trips of 50 miles or more over the upcoming holidays – an increase of 11 percent over last year. Las Vegas is the top destination of Southern Californians, followed by Arizona/Grand Canyon and the San Diego area.

The expected spike in traffic follows a lackluster two years of holiday travel and is about 2.7 million fewer travelers than the 9.7 million Southern Californians who traveled over Christmas and New Year’s holidays during 2006.

About 87 percent of Southern California travelers, or 6.16 million people, will travel by car to their holiday destinations, while almost six percent, or 400,000 local travelers, will go by air.

Nationally, 87.7 million travelers are expected, which is a 3.8 percent increase over last year.

"This is the healthiest holiday travel increase we’ve seen in recent memory, but it’s important to keep in mind that it follows a 36 percent decline in the number of Christmas-New Year’s holiday travelers after the recession officially began in 2007," said Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring. "Many travel providers offered discounts and deals this season to deal with lower advance booking rates, and that fortunately has helped to boost the number of people who can afford to take a vacation this holiday."

NFL okays Vegas ads

In a change of policy, the National Football League announced it would relax its policy of banning TV ads from Las Vegas during the playoffs and Super Bowl.

However, the league will only allow ads that tout the city as a whole (not any specific resort or casino), as long as the ads don’t reference or use imagery related to gambling or casino games.

The new policies will be in effect for NFL post season playoff games, beginning Jan. 3 and continuing through the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.

Stratosphere plans new thrill ride

Thrill seekers could have a new attraction to turn their stomach very shortly. The Stratosphere in Las Vegas is working on creating the "Sky Jump," which is described as base jumping attached to a wire.

Now, doesn’t that sound exhilarating?

The Stratosphere’s owner, American Casinos & Entertainment, are earmarking $3.6 million to fund the project. Officials are planning to make an official announcement about the project shortly after the first of the year.