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Las Vegas Revs Up for Big Holiday Weekend | News

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Las Vegas Revs Up for Big Holiday Weekend
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LAS VEGAS -- While Americans will be celebrating our nation's independence this weekend, the holiday is also igniting a huge shot in the arm for Las Vegas.

Visitor numbers are up and -- for one of the first times since the recession -- spending is also expected to increase.

Nearly 300,000 people are predicted to visit the valley pushing the hotel occupancy rate to 92- percent. All that adds up to a non-gaming revenue of $179 million.

Attracting big name entertainment and aggressive marketing appears to be paying off. Sisters Damita Cox and Kristin Smith are visiting from Chicago. "It's just a fun place. It's exciting," said Damita Cox, Chicago visitor. "I love shopping, shopping, shopping."

Tourists arrive with a laundry list of things to do.

"The shows, alcohol, slots and hopefully we win something big," said Texas visitor Madeline Delagarza.

Las Vegas is a popular place for some Americans to spend the Fourth of July weekend.

"At the airport we saw that there's a lot of events going on so it's kind of what we're hoping for," said Regina Espinoza, another Texan.

Casinos have lured in big names to draw big crowds over the weekend.

"We've been close to sold out all weekend long," said Stephen Thayer, Caesar's Entertainment.

Rihanna, Natasha Bedingfield, and the Backstreet Boys with New Kids on the Block are among the big name performers. Stations Casinos say it takes strategy to execute the weekend. Visitors wanted to be entertained but in this economy not everyone wants to spend a lot.

"They are still looking for that value proposition they want to make sure that they let that dollar stretch as far as they can," said Lori Nelson, Stations Casinos.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says a new niche that's paying off are international travelers who stay longer and more importantly spend more than domestic visitors. They drop an average of $1,011 each.

"That's $1,011 compared to the average domestic visitor who spends about $627," said Kevin Bagger, LVCVA.

The LVCVA says agreements with other country's to no longer require visas has been a huge help. International tourists make up 18-percent of visitors but 27-percent of spending.

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