LAS VEGAS -- Convenience, climate, leisure opportunities and
entertainment make this town irresistible for planners of
conferences and trade shows.
Delegate numbers increased from 1.7 million attending 1,000
conventions in 1990 to 3.8 million gathering at 3,847 conventions
in 1999, representing a nongaming economic impact that has climbed
from $1.4 billion to $4 billion in the last decade, according to a
spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors
In the months of November and January alone, more than 300,000
delegates from Comdex and the Consumer Electronics Association
filled hotel rooms to capacity, she said.
Other large organizations, such as the 90,000 delegates from Magic
(Mens Apparel Guild of California) who convene in Las Vegas in
February and August, are enticed by a winning hand of marketing
tools that include:An infrastructure where meetings facilities are central to
hotel rooms.Weather that is warm and sunny year-round.A diversity of locales offering late-night dinners and
shows.Entertainment that rivals anywhere else in the nation.
Named the nation's leader for large trade shows and rental
exhibit space for the sixth consecutive year by Tradeshow magazine,
the city is determined to maintain its prominence and to expand its
horizons even wider.
Targeting the convention business as a prime marketing
objective, the LVCVA is carrying out a master plan that involves a
1.3 million-square-foot South Hall addition to the Las Vegas
The project, which starts in the fall, has an estimated
completion date of fall 2001.
PCL Construction, the Canadian contractor that remodeled the
Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, will oversee the
The LVCVA spokeswoman envisions the completed 1,800-by-360-foot
center as being as long as 10 football fields placed side-by-side
and as wide as the length of one football field.
The portion of the structure that spans Desert Inn Road will
include ballrooms and meeting space.
A 400-seat restaurant and eight concession stands will be
A 50,000-square-foot kitchen facility to service the South Hall
is planned on the site of the existing news bureau.
The entire facility will provide 2 million square feet of
exhibit space; 170 meeting rooms with a seating capacity from 20 to
7,500; concourses; shops, and storage.
The new South Hall will have 25- to 30-foot ceilings on the
first floor and 25-foot ceilings on the second floor, with moveable
exhibit-space walls to accommodate both large and small shows.
The $113 million South Hall addition follows a
320,000-square-foot North Hall expansion completed last year.
The combined center spaces will provide 3.2 million square feet
of the city's total 7.5 million square feet of convention and
The convention center project parallels the growth in hotel and
motel rooms that has reached 123,331, and construction is not
likely to level off soon, the spokeswoman said.
"Throughout Las Vegas history, critics have asked when enough is
enough when referring to the building boom and the steady addition
of hotel rooms to the destination's inventory," she said.
"Well, history has proven that the Las Vegas market can and does
absorb the new room inventory. More than 10,000 rooms were added in
1999 alone, while we maintained annual occupancy rates that hover
near 90%. Compared to the national average of about 64%, it's easy
to see that Las Vegas continues to reinvent and market itself
successfully," the spokeswoman said.
While the convention and meetings crowd is impressive, it
represents only about 10% of the total 35.5 million visitation
figure projected for Las Vegas this year, she said.
The convention figure is about the same percentage as
international visitation, which is another group that has been
targeted for growth by the LVCVA, according to the spokeswoman.
In addition, the LVCVA is touting the city as a destination for
incentive travel and also as an accessible and inexpensive getaway
that rivals the Caribbean, she said.