Thanksgiving travel to set record

LAS VEGAS - A record number of visitors is expected to eat Thanksgiving dinner in Las Vegas this week, taking the place of many residents who have reservations elsewhere.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is anticipating 273,000 visitors - a nearly 5 percent increase over last year, said Erika Brandvik, visitors authority spokeswoman.

About a half million people are expected to travel through McCarran International Airport during the Thanksgiving holiday that starts Wednesday and ends Sunday, said Debbie Millett, airport spokeswoman.

The non-gaming economic impact for the traditionally busy holiday was forecast at $159.6 million, an 11 percent increase over last year.

The number of hotel rooms booked in the city also is up by 2.5 percent 123,245.

''The trend in visitors for the entire year has been going upward,'' Brandvik said. ''We expect by the end of the year that more than 36 million visitors will come to Vegas.''

Last year 33.8 million people visited the city of neon.

Visitors aren't the only ones traveling. A record number - one in seven - of Nevadans will make the annual pilgrimage to the homes of family and friends this Thanksgiving, according to AAA Nevada.

More than 258,000 Nevadans say they plan to travel more than 100 miles from home from Wednesday to Sunday, up 4 percent from last year.

''We advise motorists to keep an eye out for wet and icy roads,'' AAA spokeswoman Lisa Foster said. ''And air travelers should expect long lines at check-in and tight restrictions for carry-on baggage.''

According to the automobile association's survey, 81 percent are going by automobile, and 19 percent are traveling by air, train or bus. A total of 59 percent intend to stay overnight with friends or relatives and 24 percent expect to stay in a hotel or motel.

According to AAA Travel Agency counselors, most airline flights are booked; but if your travel dates are flexible, certain flights and special fares still are available.

Nationwide, 38.9 million Americans are expected to travel over the holiday weekend.

AAA's survey taken Tuesday shows this week's average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded, self-serve gas was $1.80 for Nevada. In Las Vegas the price was $1.77 and it was $1.83 in Reno.


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