If 2023 first quarter results are any indication, Las Vegas convention and trade show business is off to a robust start with anticipated convention attendance for the remainder of the year expected to follow suit. For Las Vegas, this means that the city is back! And it speaks volumes about the city’s quick recovery and resiliency following the fallout of the historic COVID shutdown.
With more than 14 million square feet of exhibit and meeting space and home to three of the country’s 10 largest convention venues (Las Vegas Convention Center, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and The Venetian Expo), in addition to other Strip resort properties and more intimate downtown Las Vegas meeting spaces, Las Vegas historically welcomes more than 6 million business travelers to the city each year.
In 2021, the LVCVA reports convention-visitor spending directly supported an estimated 13,350 jobs, $649.5 million in wages, and $2.5 billion in direct economic impact. When the indirect and induced impacts of convention visitor spending are included, the convention sector supported an estimated 20,480 jobs, $981.9 million in wages, and $4.3 billion in overall economic output.
In early January, CES (Consumer Electronics Show), exceeded expectations with 115,000 attendees, far surpassing the 45,000 visitors who attended last year’s show. Attendee numbers are expected to edge closer to the pre-Covid figure of 170,000 when CES meets again in January 2024.
“CES has always been a good bellwether for us, and I suspect that how CES performs will be a good predictor of business travel for the rest of the year,” said Amanda Belarmino, assistant professor at UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality in a Las Vegas Review Journal article published prior to the trade show.
During the last week of January, the International Builders Show (IBS) attracted nearly 70,000 home–building professionals, a 45% increase from 2022, and more than 1,300 exhibitors. Held in conjunction with IBS, the National Kitchen & Bath Show, and National Hardware Show drew approximately 110,000 attendees and almost 2000 exhibitors to the Las Vegas Convention Center as reported in LBM’s, “Builders’ Show draws largest attendance in more than 10 years.”
In between CES and IBS the World of Concrete 2023 attracted over 48,000 industry professionals from more than 120 countries; hosted more than 1,000 exhibiting companies across 587,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
In February and March, Las Vegas also welcomed such prestigious conventions and trade shows as IFA (International Franchise Association), MAGIC, and CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 Construction Show, among others.
These successful conventions are only the first of 54 shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2023, according to the LVCVA. “The economic boom when we host major meetings and conventions is really a huge multiplier for all of southern Nevada,” said Senior VP communications for the LVCVA, Lori Nelson-Kraft to KVVU.
Among the many high-profile conventions and trade shows planned for the remainder of 2023 in Las Vegas are the National Association of Broadcasters (expected attendance of 103,000); ICSC – International Council of Shopping Center Retail Real Estate Conference (40,000); Global Gaming Expo (25,000); Amazon Web Services (65,000), and Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) projected to draw 160,000.