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The Mountain West is home to expensive tourist hotspots, including Salt Lake City and Albuquerque

A wide overhead shot of the Las Vegas Strip at night. The many hotels and buildings can be seen glittering against a desert landscape.
By BrendelSignature at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
The glittering lights of the Las Vegas Strip bring in millions of tourists every year. But a recent Forbes article says Las Vegas is the most expensive place to visit, with hotel costs rising about 40% and rental car prices increasing more than 60% in the last five years in the city.

It's estimated that 70 million people will travel during the upcoming 4th of July holiday. A new report shows that at least three cities in our region are among the most expensive to visit.

Topping the list is Las Vegas. According to Forbes Advisor, hotel prices have gone up more than 47% during the past five years. And then there are the ever-increasing “resort fees,” said Becky Pokora, who wrote the article for Forbes.

“Part of that is simply because Las Vegas has more resorts proportionally than the average city in the United States. And those resort fees are averaging about $50 a night,” said Pokora.

Rental car prices have increased by more than 60% in Las Vegas. And those bargain meals and cheap buffets of years past are gone — meals now average over $90 per person.

Nonetheless, the latest figures from Harry Reid International Airport show a record-breaking 5 million travelers passed through the Las Vegas airport in May 2024.

Two other cities in our region are in the top 10: Salt Lake City (No. 7) and Albuquerque (No. 10). Hotel rates have increased about 18% in Salt Lake City and almost 40% in Albuquerque.

Despite this, Pokora says bargains can still be found.

“Travelers can still find ways to save money and make it fit in their budget if they just do some planning in advance and have some flexibility on where they stay and what dates they travel,” said Pokora.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio (KNPR) in Las Vegas, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado, and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.
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