More conventions headed to Las Vegas in 2015

There’s a new Magic show coming to town and it has nothing to do with fashion — or magic.

Magic: The Gathering Tournament is a fantasy-based card-collectors competitive event scheduled in Las Vegas for the first time in May.

The event is among 12 new and returning conventions and trade shows coming to Southern Nevada in 2015, each with expected attendance of 10,000 people or more.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is trying to build on a strong January convention business performance by enticing meeting planners to have a look at what Southern Nevada has to offer. In January, the authority reported 682,330 people attended conventions and shows, an 8 percent increase over the number of conventioneers here in January 2014. There were 1,678 meetings and show, an 8.4 percent more than last year.

The more than 22,000 meetings and convention in Las Vegas each year support more than 61,000 jobs and contribute more than $7.4 billion to the local economy, the authority says.

While most of the convention calendar is locked in for 2015, the authority’s sales staff continues to fill some holes on the schedule and is looking for long-term commitments or opportunities that are years away.

In the future, Las Vegas will have a new weapon in the arsenal — upgraded facilities and technology that will be a part of the $2.3 billion Las Vegas Global Business District project. Besides the upgrade, the Las Vegas Convention Center campus will grow with 750,000 square feet of new exhibit hall space and a facility for general assembly.

REMAINING NO. 1

With extra space and facilities in place, the authority should be able to maintain its hold on Trade Show New Network’s placement of Las Vegas as the top trade show destination in North America, hosting 53 of the 250 largest trade shows in 2013.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen exciting developments in Las Vegas with new resorts, attractions and restaurants opening,” said Cathy Tull, the authority’s senior vice president of marketing. “Add in top-notch customer service and nearly 11 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space and it’s easy to see why Las Vegas continues to be a global leader for business travel.”

But Las Vegas knows it has a target on its back as No. 1, which is why the authority is actively prospecting new business like Magic: The Gathering Tournament and keeping the destination irresistible to organizations that regularly move their shows around to different cities or only show up occasionally.

Most locals are familiar with MAGIC Marketplace, a fashion trade show that arrives in Las Vegas twice a year. MAGIC Marketplace, which already had its spring show in February, are among the city’s megashows that take up more than one convention hall and fill thousands of hotel rooms while here.

Magic: The Gathering Tournament is part of a series of international gatherings and will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center May 28-31.

Another show that hasn’t been in Las Vegas for so long it seems like it’s here for the first time is the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which will be at the Sands Expo and Convention Center and The Venetian from Nov. 14-17.

The nation’s largest organization of eye-care professionals was last in Las Vegas in 2006, according to the organization’s website.

Between Magic: The Gathering Tournament and the ophthalmology conference and its 25,000 attendees, the events are expected to produce $46 million in nongaming economic impact on the community.

‘ROTATING’ SHOWS

Several other organizations will be “rotating” their shows into Las Vegas, that is, they will be here this year, but have their gatherings in different places from year to year.

Among the big catches for 2015 are the National Business Aviation Association, returning with 25,000 people Nov. 17-19, and the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers’ Institute’s Pack Expo, bringing 43,000 to town Sept. 28-30.

The aviation show brings a flight line of business jets to Henderson Executive Airport and produces $33 million in nongaming economic impact. The Pack Show’s nongaming economic impact is estimated at $56.5 million. Both shows were last in Las Vegas in 2013.

Other rotating shows on this year’s calendar:

■ Ace Hardware, 14,000 coming to the Convention Center March 18-20.

■ American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 33,500 coming to the Sands Expo Center and Venetian March 23-28.

■ International Sign Association, 19,400 coming to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center April 8-11.

■ Waste Expo, 12,000 coming to the Convention Center June 2-4.

■ Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers, 14,000 to the Convention Center, July 22-25.

■ International Sanitary Supply Association, 18,000 coming to the Convention Center Oct. 21-23.

■ Power-Gen International, 20,000 coming to the Convention Center Dec. 8-10.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta.

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