The International Consumer Electronics Show is only for professionals in the technology industry.
But that doesn't mean Las Vegas locals won't experience a big part of the biggest geek gadget show in North America -- traffic and crowds in the airport.
That's the flip side of CES for casino dealers, valets, servers and everyone else who works in the vicinity of the Las Vegas Convention Center and Sands Expo Center or McCarran International Airport and benefits from the roughly $200 million in local spending the show generates.
The show is expected to attract 130,000 people to town between today and Sunday, all of whom will arrive in Las Vegas by air or highway and take buses, cabs, rental cars or the monorail to the event.
"It's the biggest convention of the year," said Rosemary Vassiliadis, deputy director of McCarran.
Vassiliadis says the airport has changed dramatically since 2004, when tens of thousands of outbound conventioneers overwhelmed security lines at McCarran, creating lines lasting up to three hours.
"You can't even compare it anymore," said Vassiliadis.
This year alone McCarran opened nine new gates in an expansion of the D concourse at a cost of $179 million. It also opened 12 new security lanes in the C concourse and a bridge connecting the B and C concourses at a cost of about $84 million.
"We really expect the new checkpoints to be a tremendous relief on Sunday," Vassiliadis said.
Also, the airport now has arrival and departure boards at the Las Vegas Convention Center and passengers can check bags at the convention center or the rental car facility, which enables them to skip ticketing lines on the way out of town.
Exhibitor Mitch Goldstone, president and CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com, says he's been to CES every year since 1998 and is well aware of the potential for traffic hassles.
"Oh man, what a mess," Goldstone said when first asked about traffic during the event.
Goldstone remembered attempting to drive from Mandalay Bay to The Venetian during a past CES. He said he spent an hour on Las Vegas Boulevard making the trek.
Since then, Goldstone says he avoids rental cars and cabs and sticks to the monorail or simply walks between venues.
"It is a lot of fun, not just people-watching, but watching all the people fighting for taxis," he said.
But he said fighting crowds is better than having a slow show.
He was also able to secure front row tickets to shows such as "O" and "Love" on Friday and Saturday nights just within the past few weeks.
Another foreboding sign, he recently landed a room at Encore for $159 per night -- an unheard of price for luxury accommodations during CES in recent years.
With the economy in the tank and no signs of recovery on the horizon, Goldstone is worried the show could suffer long-term damage.
The advent of online social networking and communication services such as Twitter threaten to undermine the "show and tell" aspect that is a big part of the appeal of CES.
Goldstone worries technology that enables people to experience the gadgetry of CES without the headaches could make it more difficult for the show to regain customers even after the economy recovers.
Karen Chupka, senior vice president of conferences and events for the Consumer Electronics Association, says the group has about 200 buses on the road during CES.
They will run between the convention center and the Sands Expo and Convention Center and also between the venues and CES hotel partners.
There will also be as many as 40 extra cabs per taxi company on the road, according to the Nevada Taxicab Authority.
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3861.