Fewer people started the year in Southern Nevada than in 2012

Tourists take photos of the Bellagio Conservatory & Gardens Chinese New Year display Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.

Southern Nevada’s new year visitor volume began the way 2012 ended — treading water compared with the previous year.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported visitation down 0.7 percent to 3.13 million people for January compared with January 2012.

Officials attributed the dip to there being one fewer weekend day than there was last year.

The average daily room rate rose 0.4 percent to $114.22.

Occupancy fell 0.2 percentage points to 78.1 percent for the month with slight growth in midweek occupancy offsetting a 2 percentage point drop for weekends.

The higher midweek numbers resulted from the return of a major convention to Las Vegas, the National Association of Home Builders, which brought 48,000 people to the city. That show also boosted convention attendance for the month by 6.2 percent to 571,964.

The number of conventions, trade shows and meetings increased by 19.7 percent over 2012 to 1,787 for the month.

Another bright spot for the month was a 7 percent increase in average daily auto traffic to 91,703 vehicles on major highways to Las Vegas, offsetting a 1.6 percent drop in passenger traffic at McCarran International Airport.

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