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Downtown: Now That They're Building It, Will They Come?

November 29, 2012 at 4:29 PM | by | Comments (2)

The Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency (LVRDA) recently released some tourism statistics from around the valley, but the numbers from downtown jumped out at us as most interesting. The numbers-adverse should skip to the bottom where we finally get to a point.

For starters, 2011 visitors were polled for their main reason visiting downtown and 'Fremont Street Experience' was the answer 64% of the time. Lodging was mentioned by 18% of respondents, Gambling 9% and Dining a measly 1%. Overall, nothing completely shocking here, although we're curious how many surveyed were first-time visitors over repeat offenders since we'd bet money a higher number of DT virgins are poppin' their Fremont cherry for the Experience before zipping back to the Strip.

43% of visitors who stayed downtown "definitely will" return to Las Vegas next year compared to only 25% of those that stayed on the Strip. Those same downtown guests would 'definitely recommend' Vegas to others 53% of the time while 41% of Strip guests said the same.

For those more into demographic breakdowns:
· 73% Married
· 42% College Grads
· 35% over age 65; 21% aged 40-49
· 36% reported household income more than $80,000; 28% earned $60,000-$79,999
· 62% visit from the western states while only 4% come from the east coast

The most interesting number of all to us is 2011. To that point, a large part of going downtown was for the Fremont Street Experience, cheap booze, and fried twinkies. In the last year, however, change has quickly taken over downtown. VegasChatter has chronicled the opening of the the Smith Center, the addition of more restaurants and bars, the re-theming of the Fitz, a Grand renovation in the works, a destination worthy Neon Museum and even the coming of a praying mantis-approved shopping, retail, and dining park.

What will this poll tell us in one year, two, or five years from now? Will the Smith Center alone be enough for the 'Other' category to take a chunk out of the FSE 64%? Will more and more tourists turn their attention downtown to eat, drink, shop and conquer Slotzilla? Or, will Vegas locals be the primary beneficiaries of the Downtown revolution?

Grab all the numbers and view all the pie charts you can eat on the LVRDA website. Then leave us with your thoughts below. Now, that they're building it, who will come -- and how often?

[Graph: LVRDA]

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Downtown is going to be amazing for locals, and turn into our Bourbon Street.

Those numbers for people who want to return to the strip are very telling (and scary... not in a good way). I'm not suggesting that downtown will ever eclipse The Strip. But... within a few short years, people "in the know" will be doing downtown and taking trips to The Strip.

Staying Downtown.

I've been to Vegas four times.  The first time I stayed at the Nugget (while they were building the pool), second time IP, third time Las Vegas Club and fourth time Four Queens.  

Traditionally I just want a cheap, clean bed and bathroom.  IP was by far the worst of the bunch, and if you've ever been to the Las Vegas Club, you'll know that's saying something.

We have way more fun staying downtown and taking the Deuce to the strip for day trips or shows.  When you just want to wander around and stay somewhat close to your hotel, you just can't beat Fremont St.  

This time out, my girlfriend and I want to stay someplace nice.  Instead of the Strip, we're heading straight to the Nugget.  I just have far more fun and my feet appreciate it a lot more as well.  :)

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