332,000 visitors expected for biggest party of year - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

332,000 visitors expected for biggest party of year

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The countdown is on until America's party rings in the new year on the Las Vegas strip. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority estimates 332,000 visitors will celebrate 2013.

McCarran International Airport says officials expect more travelers as the weekend draws nearer since many hotels are selling packages Saturday through Tuesday.

"We just came to see the lights and the big party that's going to happen New Year's Eve" said Doug Kitchens who is visiting from Georgia.

"It's great," said Chelsea Sawyer who is also visiting from Georgia. "It's awesome. We are going to just hang out and see the cool lights."

The Kitchens family from Georgia arrived Wednesday in Las Vegas. They're eager to bid farewell to 2012 and say hello to 2013. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority estimates 332,000 visitors will ring in the new year bringing in $210 million in non-gaming revenue.

"Every 1,000 visitors creates or sustains nine jobs here in town," said Dawn Christensen of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority. "Anytime there's a large number of visitors like that it's great for the local economy."

This year's party will feature headline acts throughout the city and an eight-minute fireworks show atop seven resort rooftops.

"We have over 100 kegs of beer, cases and cases of liquor," said Jerry Raftis of the Harley Davidson Cafe. "It's a big party."

The Harley Davidson Cafe started planning for New Year's Eve after Thanksgiving. The restaurant said the night is its single biggest moneymaker of the year bringing in more than three-times the sales of a typical busy day.

His entire staff is ready to cash in too with some of them working double shifts.

"We definitely brace for it," said Raftis. "You survive the night. It's such a crazy day that hopefully it goes by in the blink of an eye. You get done and take a long deep breath and relax a little bit. It's definitely a long day and you definitely brace for it."

The Visitors' Authority said that with just a few days left in 2012 the city of Las Vegas is on track to break a record with 40 million visitors by the end of the year.

Since the strip will be closed the Regional Transit Center will provide free transit service from 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve until 9 a.m. on New Year's Day.

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