Las Vegas Casinos Hope World of Concrete Convention Sparks Economic Recovery

Posted on: June 7, 2021, 01:56h. 

Last updated on: July 19, 2021, 02:18h.

The nation’s first big convention since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic kicked off this week in Las Vegas. Tourism experts hope the World of Concrete event will spur the city’s casino-based economy.

Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall
A ‘Welcome’ sign at the Las Vegas Convention Center awaits World of Concrete trade show attendees. The event runs from June 7-10. (Image: KLAS-TV)

Before March 2020, when the pandemic put a halt to conventions, the World of Concrete trade show attracted 60,000 people to Las Vegas, according the trade group’s website. The website bills World of Concrete as “The commercial construction industry’s largest annual international event for concrete and masonry professionals.”

This year’s trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center began Monday with an educational session. The convention portion starts Tuesday with vendor exhibits and more. The event runs through Thursday. It is the first trade show in the $1 billion West Hall at the Convention Center.

Tourism officials say this event could signal a rebound in the Las Vegas economy. The Las Vegas Monorail recently was restarted in part to handle passengers for the upcoming convention.

Amanda Belarmino of UNLV told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the World of Concrete event is a “major milestone in our recovery.”’

A successful recovery will include conventions,” said Belamino, an assistant professor in the university’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality.

She said a successful World of Concrete show “will be a signal to all travelers that Las Vegas is a safe and reliable destination.” 

“Just as important will be our ability to provide a high level of service that will advertise to all travelers that we are open for business and ready to serve,” Belamino said.

Upcoming Conventions

Last year, several major resorts on the Las Vegas Strip were forced to close their hotel towers during the middle of the week because of low consumer demand. One factor was the absence of conventions.

World of Concrete is one of several conventions and trade shows headed to Las Vegas over the next several months. These include the Men’s Apparel Guild in California fashion show in August, the National Association of Broadcasters in October, and CES 2022 in January.

The national rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and stimulus checks has led to increased leisure tourism, with high visitor volumes in Las Vegas on weekends. For two straight months, the area has seen more than 2 million visitors each month. Conventions are considered a vital component in high hotel occupancy rates throughout the week. 

‘Beyond Excited’

Virginia Valentine, president and CEO of the Nevada Resort Association, noted that convention attendees not only boost hotel occupancy, but also  pump up midweek business “at restaurants, shows, and entertainment venues, retail stores, and other attractions and amenities.”

In 2019, the year before pandemic lockdowns, 6.6 million conventioneers traveled to Las Vegas, the highest number ever, according to the newspaper. These events create an economic impact across the region of $11.4 billion.

Since 1999, Las Vegas resorts have made more money from conventions and from hotel amenities, such as entertainment and food, than from gambling, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Valentine told the newspaper resorts are “beyond excited” that the first major convention has returned after a 14-month absence. The Resort Association is the casino industry’s lobbying arm.

“Trade show and convention delegates spend more while they’re here than leisure visitors, and they do it Monday through Thursday, when we need it most,” Valentine said.