Las Vegas is back in a big way.
Of North America’s major cities, the gambling hub in Nevada is the only one to recover fully from the pandemic, research shows.
Buoyed by flows of tourists to its casinos and shows, only Las Vegas has more people downtown nowadays than before Covid-19 swept the nation, shuttering schools and offices.
El Paso, Texas, and the Californian cities of San Jose and Bakersfield also have close to their pre-pandemic downtown footfall, experts at the University of Toronto say.
Las Vegas is the only big city in North America with more people downtown this year than there were before the pandemic
Residencies of such big-name stars as Katy Perry have helped draw footfall back to Las Vegas
Karen Chapple, director of the University of Toronto’s School of Cities, says some cities are ‘stuck’
They all only have a little more than half of downtown activity than before Covid-19 showed up.
Problems such as crime, homelessness, and drug dealing have left downtowns of some cities feel unsafe, residents say.
For their study, researchers gathered cell phone data from North America’s 65 biggest cities.
They compared the mobile activity from the beginning of March to mid-June in 2023 against the same period in 2019.
A recovery score of 100 percent means that a city had the same amount of downtown activity this Spring as it did before Covid-19 arrived.
Researchers compared cell phone activity downtown this year against pre-pandemic 2019
With a score of 103 percent, Las Vegas is the only city to truly bounce back, researchers said.
Its impressive recovery was doubtless helped by the large numbers of tourists who show up to play roulette and blackjack in the casinos, dine out or catch a show.
Domestic and international tourism has picked up, thanks to years of pent-up demand from the pandemic.
Residencies of such music stars as Katy Perry and Usher have helped draw crowds back to the city.
So have big annual conferences, such as the Consumer Electronics Show, which was pulled in more than 115,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center in January.
Other major US cities with good recovery scores include Miami, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, and Atlanta, Georgia.
Crowds watching the fountain show last month on Las Vegas boulevard in Las Vegas, Nevada
The Consumer Electronics Show drew some 115,000 people to Las Vegas this year
A smaller show from the African American Automotive Association has been pulling in punters this month
The recovery of downtown Portland, Oregon, has been slow, thanks in part to social problems, such as homelessness
St Louis, Missouri, is America’s slowest recovering big city, researchers found.
It has only a little over half the downtown activity this year than was seen around the Gateway Arch in early 2019.
Such major cities as Chicago, Portland, and Seattle are also struggling to get people back into downtown offices.
Target became one of the latest retailers this year to announce the closure of stores in Portland, Seattle and elsewhere due to crime and other social problems
‘We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests,’ Target said in the news release.
Residents of Seattle are among the most likely in the US to say rising crime rates and rampant homelessness make them want to leave the city for good.
A US Census Bureau survey in August found that 7 percent of Seattle adult residents felt pressure to move over safety concerns in their neighborhood.
That compares to a nationwide average of just 3 percent of adults.
In their latest study of mobile phone data, the University of Toronto changed the way they compile their ranking of cities.
They now define the downtown of a city as the area with the greatest concentration of private sector jobs.
Karen Chapple, who runs the university’s School of Cities, said officials in some cities had complained about how a ‘downtown’ was defined.
‘We decided to go with job densities … figuring that’s what people really care about — these are the hearts of our regions and of our cities,’ Chapple told Axios.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk