Las Vegas Convention Officials Say Much Uncertainty Surrounding Coronavirus Economic Impact

Posted on: March 11, 2020, 08:53h. 

Last updated on: March 11, 2020, 10:45h.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) says the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic is causing much uncertainty surrounding the city’s economy.

Las Vegas convention coronavirus
While some Las Vegas conventions remain on schedule, others are folding because of the coronavirus. (Image: KM Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

LVCVA Chairman Steve Hill reveals the agency is holding conference calls twice a day to address the global health crisis. The World Health Organization says there’s been more than 113,700 confirmed cases and the virus is responsible for 4,012 deaths.

The deadly disease is devastating global economies, as countries go on lockdown and travel is heavily restricted. That’s prompting many would-be Las Vegas visitors to forego their trips, and business planners to postpone or cancel their events.

“What’s in front of us is uncertain, but we know that there is going to be a reduction in our revenue over the next couple of months,” Hill said. The LVCVA operates the Las Vegas Convention Center, one of the largest exhibition spaces in the United States.

“We are planning for that, we are modeling what that could look like, and we are taking steps now to mitigate the effects of that revenue drop,” Hill added.

Conventions Canned

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there are 647 domestic cases of the 2019 coronavirus. Nevada is home to only five, but the fear is nonetheless thwarting travel.

Hill said several large events have been canceled. The White House abandoned plans to hold the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Las Vegas, and Google called off a series of conferences. The Game Developers Conference also canceled its annual meet.

Other cancellations:

  • Adobe Summit – 20,000 attendees
  • Shoptalk – 8,000 attendees
  • International Wireless Communications Expo – 6,500 attendees
  • SAP Ariba Live – 2,500 attendees
  • NXT Global Summit – 1,000 attendees

Hill said the cancellations will hurt, but the agency remains in a strong financial position.

“It helps that we came into this situation both strongly and well-prepared,” Hill explained. “The city has been having a great year. The first eight months of the year, five of those months set a record for room tax collection in those months, so we’ve come into this situation with a pretty significant budget surplus.”

Mayor Downplays Threat

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (D), who is a LVCVA board member, said people should carry on with their travel plans.

Yes, fly,” Goodman said. “This has been going on for years. Any time in the past 50, 60 years of my life that I flew any length of time beyond an hour, I’d end up with a cold or something from the circulating air. And maybe this will help the airlines figure out how to purify their air.”

The mayor believes the media is creating a false narrative regarding the coronavirus, installing a sense of hysteria.

“The media is absolutely destroying us,” Goodman added. “This fear has taken over the world, and if you look and talk to doctors, I have yet to see a doctor who espouses the voice of social media and what the media is doing here.”