A new report confirms what most of us already knew – that the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the tourism economy in southern Nevada to the tune of $ 34 billion.
But the 22-page report commissioned by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and written by Jeremy Aguero, director of Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, quantifies just how much damage has been done.
Aguero estimates that the pandemic caused a $ 34 billion drop in total economic input when you consider direct, indirect and induced sources – direct spending by visitors, vendors, and vendors, and spending by employees.
In total, 125,600 jobs were reportedly lost.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark on the southern Nevada tourism industry and the wider regional economy,” Aguero said in the report’s summary.
“Compared to recent recessions, the magnitude of the COVID-19 recession was unprecedented in its depth and speed. … Although the economic losses in 2020 were significant, it should be noted that many of the economic conditions and deficits persisted until early 2021, ”the report says.
Between the details Aguero described in his report and new data suggesting that southern Nevada is experiencing setbacks in the fight against COVID, the immediate future is not particularly bright.
The rise in cases and the renewal of mask mandates, both locally and in other parts of the country, could lead to a further slowdown in all travel to the United States in the near term, said Amanda Belarmino, professor of welcome to the UNLV.
“However, I hope the new mask mandate will allay some of these fears,” Belarmino added. “No one does hospitality like Las Vegas, and our COVID-19 response is second to none. We know that casino hotels have already successfully implemented mitigation measures, and as these return, we will continue to welcome guests safely. “
MGM Resorts International requires employees to provide proof of vaccination or undergo regular COVID-19 testing, a policy that has the support of the Culinary Union which represents some 24,000 MGM workers in Las Vegas.
In a letter to employees, MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle once again urged employees to get vaccinated and sounded the alarm on what could happen if the COVID-19 situation of the region continued to worsen.
“This is another disheartening setback when we should focus on continuing our recovery,” Hornbuckle wrote, referring to the reimplemented mask mandate. “In addition to the heart-wrenching thought of more illness and death, I fear progressively more restrictive measures, including a return to social distancing and capacity restrictions, may be around the corner if we continue on this. way. It would be a huge blow to our community, our industry and our economy. “
“The low vaccination rate in our region puts us back on the path to overgrown hospitals, unnecessary deaths, fewer tourists and possible layoffs and layoffs. None of us want that, ”added Hornbuckle. “After the pain so many have endured over the past 16 months – and the tremendous progress made in 2021 – I can’t think of a more damaging scenario for us as a community.
The state of California this week implemented a policy similar to GMM for state employees and healthcare workers. And in San Francisco, some bars have started or are planning to require customers to provide proof of vaccine or a recent negative COVID-19 test.
Belarmino of the UNLV said she does not anticipate widespread implementation of the requirement for vaccination records at reception facilities in southern Nevada.
“Unlike schools, hospitals and public buildings, it is difficult for businesses to implement and places an excessive burden on service workers. It could also create a disparate impact depending on who is unvaccinated in a given community, ”Belarmino said. “My hope would be that the silver lining of the delta variant is that the unvaccinated will consult their doctors about vaccine safety for their personal health conditions and, for those for whom it is safe, they will get vaccinated. “
Some of the highlights from Aguero’s report:
– The COVID epidemic has hurt Las Vegas more than any other city. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the city relies heavily on tourism, which makes it particularly sensitive to events that affect travel, entertainment, and dining. An estimated 28.6 percent of Las Vegas’ workforce is in tourism-oriented jobs. The next closest, Orlando, Florida is at 22%. They are followed by San Diego, 14%; Los Angeles, 13%; with Atlanta, Phoenix and Chicago at 11% each.
– In 2020, southern Nevada’s average unemployment rate was highest among major metropolitan areas at 14.7% and was fifth highest among more than 300 metropolitan areas in the United States. Two of the areas with the highest unemployment rates were in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Kahului, Hawaii, two smaller metropolitan areas with larger shares of leisure and hospitality jobs than southern Nevada.
– Since 2010, the unemployment rate has been going down. The unemployment rate was 14% in 2010 in the aftermath of the Great Recession, but it fell to 4.1% in 2019. When COVID hit, it soared to 14.7%, the highest in history from southern Nevada. Earlier this week, the unemployment rate for southern Nevada was calculated at 9.6%.
– Convention visits have ceased due to Department of Health policies against gathering large groups. A record 6.6 million convention attendees arrived in Las Vegas in 2019. With 11 straight months without attending the convention, the meetings industry has just started to come back.
In 2020, there were 1.7 million convention attendees, thanks to strong attendance at CES, World of Concrete, Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Show and ConExpo-Con / Agg during of the first three months of the year. After March 17, 2020, there was nothing until June 2021.
– Occupancy rates and average daily room rates at resorts have fallen to 2015 levels after being built in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
– A subject of concern that still has no solution: international travel. McCarran International Airport had established a solid list of non-stop international flights to and from Las Vegas with 1.5 million passengers from overseas. With only non-stop flights to and from Mexico currently available, the 2021 total to date is 128,227, a drop of 91.6%.