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Apr 14, 2015 9:02 PM

Survey: Most Vegas tourists married, many from California

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says it has a pretty good idea who visited the destination last year: 45-year-old married people making $40,000 or more, with one-third of them coming from neighboring California.

That's the portrait of the average Las Vegas tourist developed after surveying 300 travelers at random each month last year.

They came in pairs and left the kids if any at home, spending $281.88 on food and drinks, $149.77 to shop and budgeting $530.11 each to gamble, more than they have in the past five years. They stuck largely to the Strip, opting not to venture to downtown Fremont Street's casinos. They had little interest in comedy shows. But if they had side-trips in mind, plenty planned to see the Grand Canyon up close during their visit.

All in all, 96 percent said they had a good time.

Of those who were only "somewhat satisfied" with their trip, 4 percent told surveyors they simply "don't like Las Vegas." Just 10 people of the few thousand surveyed last year said they were dissatisfied with their trip. The place was "too expensive" or "too intense," they said.

The agency released its latest visitor survey statistics this week providing a glimpse of some of the 41.1 million people who visited in 2014 via in-person interviews with a sample that omit any locals, anyone younger than 21 years old and anyone who has more than a day left in his or her Vegas visit.

Scott Russell, senior manager of research for the convention and visitors authority, said the information helps the agency hone its message when reaching visitors.

While an average age of 45 might not seem overly young, it is and might be the youngest ever, said Rob Dondero, with the authority's hired marketing firm R&R Partners behind the "What happens here, stays here" slogan, charged with reaching out to a variety of generations.

For one, 21 to 29 year olds account for 17 percent of tourists now versus 10 percent in 2010.

In with the young, out with the old reliable money-makers such as gambling. Fewer people, about 12 percent, said they came to Vegas primarily to gamble.

Once visitors were in town, though, 71 percent made a bet or two, flat compared to last year and a drop from 80 percent in 2010 and 77 percent in 2011, according to the survey. Those who did gamble budgeted to lose a bit more than the year prior.

Still, more people came to gamble than go to a convention or trade show (8 percent) despite Las Vegas hosting the 60 of the largest 250 shows last years ranked by Trade Show News Network by show square footage, more than any other destination.

For being the so-called wedding capital of the world, just 3 percent of people surveyed were in town to get hitched or watch someone else walk down the aisle.

Spa-going and fitness didn't seem to be on the itinerary for most, just 7 percent, but it's a rising number, authority officials said.

"Five years ago, 'wellness' didn't even show up in there," Dondero said of the category that included fitness and spas.


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