Visitor numbers for Las Vegas lead to some awe-inspiring reflections and scary implications.
In 2013, 39,668,211 people visited Las Vegas. That’s according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which might have an understandable interest in not undercounting visitors. But for our purposes here, let’s take that at face value.
Now, I’m usually all right with big words, like ‘marmalade,’ but have trouble really getting big numbers. So I look for some sort of meaningful benchmark.
With the Olympics on, my first thought is of my country. The last time I checked, Canada’s 2013 population was 35,158,300. Stats Canada reported this figure as an estimate, thereby exhibiting an admirable commitment to ‘transparency in government’ (that would be ‘honesty’ for anyone over, say, 55). In any event, the use of two final zeros might have tipped us off that this figure is not an exact count, 2013 not being a census year.
But I digress. In hand-waving terms, what this means is that in 2013 more people visited Las Vegas than lived in Canada. OK, I get that, although it’s hard to fathom. I mean, what’s the impact of the population of Canada (more or less, since we’re in government-sanctioned estimating mode) descending on a city with a metropolitan population of just under 2 million? Yikes. If it were me hosting my proportional share and the Big Guy’s, too, I’d be glad to see the back of those 35 (estimated) to 39.668211 (exact but impossible) visitors, that’s for sure.
But let’s keep going. What the heck, we’re here now. The monthly figure—3,305,684 (for transparency in blogging, note that this number has been rounded down by 0.25 visitors/month)—is still hard to believe. No single Canadian city has a population of 3 million: only metropolitan Toronto and Montreal exceed that figure. Think of the mess it would be at Lester B. Pearson International Airport if roughly half the metro Toronto population went to Las Vegas every month. On the other hand, think of the relief on the freeways!
So maybe we should just take it a day at a time, eh? Well, 108,680 people (yes, yes, rounded down by 0.03 visitors/day – I never knew you folks were such sticklers for precision) visited every day. That’s more than 1,000 airplanes landing; or 25,000 cars arriving, each carrying a family of four or a small-ish stag party complement. Every day. At some point, all these people have to leave, or you’d think the entire Las Vegas area would sink under the added weight. I wonder who’s keeping an eye on that? I can hear the knock at the hotel room door, now.
I’m sorry, sir, you and your friends will have to leave a day ahead of schedule. Our figures show that we’ll hit our weight limit for the metropolitan area with this morning’s five-hundredth flight arrival. Leave now; we’ll send your luggage to you. There’s really no time to lose.
What? Does that sound incredible? Unbelievable? Well, you might be right. But in a world in which 39,668,211 people visit Las Vegas in any year, pretty much anything can happen. Of course, that’s only my estimate.