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Vegas expects record New Year's Eve crowd

  |   Dec. 30, 2011 at 3:06 PM
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LAS VEGAS, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Las Vegas is expecting a record 314,000 out-of-town guests for New Year's Eve parties this year, officials said.

The night will bring the number of visitors to the city to 39 million in 2011, closely rivaling the 39.2 million during 2007, USA Today reported Thursday.

"While the recovery has been gradual and spending has taken longer to recover, visitor volume has been strong," said Kevin Bagger, senior director of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The city expects to fill 98 percent of its 150,189 hotel rooms on New Year's Eve, which is a 0.4 percent increase from last year.

Bagger said average hotel rates have risen steadily over the past 20 months, despite a 1.2 percent boost in the number of rooms.

Rooms at the Bellagio that went for $659 to $799 on New Year's Eve 2010 are going for $1,199 to $1,998 this year, said Yvette Monet, a spokeswoman for the Bellagio's parent company, MGM Resorts International.

"Based on current booking trends, this New Year's weekend is anticipated to be one of the best in quite some time on the Las Vegas Strip," says Monet. "At some MGM Resorts properties [which include the ARIA Resort & Casino, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand and The Mirage] it could be one of the best of all time, in terms of visitor volumes and room rates."

"If any holiday is made for Las Vegas it's New Year's Eve, and it's working in their favor that it falls on a Saturday night this year," says San Francisco-based travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group.

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