Las Vegas Starts Ambitious Hotel Construction Boom
History has proven doubters to be wrong. Las Vegas has grown from a dusty town of a few resorts into a booming metropolis of more than 600,000 people, with nearly 60,000 hotel and motel rooms to accomodate tourists.
Now, as Las Vegas undergoes one of the most ambitious of its periodic building booms, there are few who believe that overbuilding is a problem. Tourism is growing and the gaming and resort industries are attempting to capitalize on the trend.
Nearly 20,000 new hotel rooms either are under construction or awaiting groundbreaking, as resorts compete to add rooms they hope will bring in even more tourists and gamblers in the near future.
Part of that optimism is based on figures showing hotels averaged 90.2 percent occupancy during 1987. Such extremely high rates meant potential guests often were turned away by a lack of rooms: on weekends, it is nearly impossible to get a room and on three-day holiday weekends it's even worse.
Visitor volume nearly has doubled in the last 12 years, wth an estimated 17 million tourists each expected to spend an average of 2-3 days in Las Vegas during 1988.
Gaming revenues kept pace, growing 14 percent in 1987 to a record $2.74 billion in southern Nevada.
``We're penetrating markets we've never penetrated before,'' said Dave Verbon, publicity director at the Riviera Hotel. ``There are vast numbers of people out there we never tried to reach before and now we're going after them and getting them.''
Already boasting the world's two largest resort hotels, Las Vegas soon will have five hotel-casinos with more than 3,000 rooms apiece. …