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Summer Tourism Projected to Rise Slightly (Subscriber Content)

By John Seelmeyer

Summer tourism in the Reno is projected to rise moderately this summer — and that’s better news than it might appear at first glance.

Phil DeLone, president and chief executive officer of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, says visitation to the Reno-Tahoe area was so vibrant during the past couple of summers that it might prove difficult to squeeze out another year of super-strong growth.

Hotel occupancy in the region was running about 80 percent the last couple of summers, significantly higher than the 74 percent average occupancy rates across the United States during June and July last year.

Getting the occupancy numbers up by very much would require some big changes in the habits of visitors, DeLone says.

“Any significant growth in summer visitation would have to accumulate during the week, which is a challenge for most leisure travelers who tend to center their vacations around weekend travel,” he says.

As travelers keep rooms full, owners of lodging properties are able to get higher rates. The most recent figures available from RSCVA — statistics for April — show that the average daily rate for hotels in the region was $123.86, an increase of $7.44 or 6.4 percent from a year ago. The average daily rate for a motel room stood at $57.17, up by $3.66 from last year.

Passenger traffic at Reno-Tahoe International Airport also hints at a strong summer. Through the first four months of this year, the number of passengers arriving at the airport — 680,363 — was running 5.8 percent ahead of year-earlier figures.

The three summer months generally account for about 29 percent of the annual visitors to the Reno and North Lake Tahoe areas.

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