Vegas tourism expected to have a record month

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A slew of sporting events, conventions and other events are expected to make March a record month for tourism in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority.

In addition to St. Patrick's Day parties, the city is hosting a major construction industry convention and Major League Baseball's Big League Weekend, featuring the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets at Cashman Field.

Several college basketball tournaments, including the Pac-12 and Mountain West Conference, are happening in the area, too.

Frank Mercogliano, an assistant athletic director for the University of New Mexico, said his university's team brought their fan base this weekend to Vegas and the South Point Hotel and Casino, where they're staying.

"There were still 5,000 fans at the arena. Maybe more than that," he told KLAS-TV (http://bit.ly/1gwf3dB ). "And there were at least a 1,000 in this place just going crazy as we walked down the South Point. It was great."

The events are expected to draw thousands of people, in addition to regular spring visitors and the crowds flocking to resort-hotel pools opening on the Strip.

Maxine Reyer from New York told the TV station that she was visiting for the pool parties, which can attract thousands of people.

"We did it because our friend pretty much raved about Vegas, so we decided to come," she said.

At least one hotel has added more space and shaded areas to accommodate long lines of visitors waiting to enter.

March is typically a strong month for Las Vegas tourism, and last year it was the best month on record, dating to 1990, with 3.5 million visitors.

That beat a record from a year earlier.

Official tourism numbers for March will be released at the end of April.

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Information from: KLAS-TV, http://www.klas-tv.com

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