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Las Vegas: A Tourism and Migration Deep Dive

by 
Ezra Carmel
 on 
June 3, 2024
Las Vegas: A Tourism and Migration Deep Dive

Known as the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas has always been a tourist hotspot. But for a growing segment of the population, Vegas is also becoming a popular place to lay down permanent roots. We dove into the tourism and migration data for the region in order to take a closer look at Las Vegas’ changing visitor and resident populations. 

Key Takeaways

  • Tourism in Las Vegas is booming, with overnight stays in the city growing both year over year (YoY) and compared to pre-COVID.  
  • Visitors to the iconic Las Vegas Strip are growing steadily more affluent, cementing the entertainment corridor’s positioning as an upscale vacation destination.
  • At the same time, many new and affluent residents have made the Las Vegas metro area their permanent home.

Viva Las Vegas: Overnight Stays Are Up

Like many vacation destinations, Las Vegas took a significant tourism hit at the onset of COVID. But with travel restrictions now a thing of the past, visitation to Las Vegas is roaring back. 

Analyzing travel to Las Vegas using the Travel & Tourism Report shows that since the halfway mark of 2023, the total number of visit nights spent by travelers in the city (i.e. by those staying up 31 days) have consistently outperformed pre-pandemic levels. And with the sole exception of July 2023, visit nights have increased year-over-year (YoY) as well.

Alongside robust demand for experiences, investment in new, one-of-a-kind entertainment venues like the Sphere – which opened towards the end of 2023 – has likely played a part in reigniting tourism.

High Rollers: A Steady Increase in Affluent Visitors to The Strip

Who are the tourists driving this comeback? To explore the demographic characteristics of today’s visitors to Las Vegas, we zoomed in on the Las Vegas Strip – the iconic epicenter of it all, where most of the city’s luxury hotels, shops, restaurants, and casinos are concentrated. 

Analysis of the Strip’s captured market with demographic data from AGS: Demographic Dimensions reveals that as tourist activity in the city began to pick up again, the median household income (HHI) of visitors to the Strip increased steadily. In Q1 2024, the median HHI of visitors to the Strip reached $93.0K, perhaps aided by tourism surrounding this year’s Super Bowl

This indicates that the Strip is becoming a more upscale visit destination, and that demand for Vegas’ luxury offerings are driving visits. As more consumers with ample discretionary dollars make their way to Vegas, pricey shows – in addition to retail – are likely to become ever-more lucrative advertising opportunities.

Full House: Net-Positive and High-Income Migration to the Region

A tourism boom isn’t the only phenomenon making waves in Sin City. In recent years, more and more out-of-towners have made Greater Las Vegas their home, and unlike some pandemic-era migration hotspots, Las Vegas continues to attract new residents.

Migration data indicates that many of those moving in are high-earners who are likely incentivized by the cost of living and tax benefits in the region. 

Between December 2019 and December 2023, the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise CBSA experienced net-positive domestic migration of 3.9%. In other words, the total number of people that moved to Las Vegas over the four-year period from elsewhere in the U.S., minus those that left, was equivalent to 3.9% of the region’s December 2023 population. Meanwhile, analysis of the CBSA’s origin to destination HHI ratio reveals that between December 2019 and December 2023, the median HHI of incoming residents was 20% higher than the median HHI of the local population. 

And comparing migration data in December 2023 to December 2020, 2021, and 2022, revealed consistently positive net migration and origin to destination HHI ratios in the years since 2019. This indicates that the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise CBSA continues to attract many new and affluent residents. When planning future amenities and services, the region may want to take into account the opportunities – and challenges – presented by these population shifts.

The Desert Oasis Calls

Be it for a quick trip or full-on relocation, Las Vegas remains a prime destination in both the U.S. tourism and domestic migration landscapes. New entertainment venues and amenities keep Vegas top-of-mind for upscale vacationers while economic incentives drive moves from a high-income cohort. 

For more tourism and migration insights, visit Placer.ai.

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