56°F
weather icon Clear

Major changes to come to Las Vegas’ convention scene in 2020

Las Vegas is expected to add more than 2 million square feet of convention space in 2020, which economists say will propel the city’s economic growth.

Seven properties are adding or expanding convention space, from the 750,000 square feet being added at the Las Vegas Convention Center to the 315,000-square-foot Expo at World Market Center coming to downtown Las Vegas in the summer.

In all, the city is set to go from about 11.9 million square feet of convention space in 2019 to more than 14 million by the end of 2020.

Much of that growth comes in the nick of time, with 2020 expected to be the busiest convention year in Las Vegas’ history.



The ConExpo-Con/Agg construction equipment trade show, which meets once every three years, arrives in March with 129,000 delegates. The National Mining Association MINExpo 2020 and its 50,000 participants will make an appearance in late September.

ConExpo-Con/Agg is so big that the Mountain West Conference moved its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments up a week so that fans wouldn’t have to compete with construction industry executives for hotel rooms, whose rates skyrocket when demand is high.

Las Vegas is already regularly ranked among the top three U.S. trade show cities, alongside Chicago and Orlando, Florida. It has topped Trade Show Weekly’s list of North American trade show destinations for 25 straight years.

The city has also started bringing in trade shows from other cities; this month, Oracle said its OpenWorld show would move from San Francisco to Las Vegas in 2020.

Applied Analysis principal analyst Jeremy Aguero said the additional space will help Las Vegas attract additional new conventions and retain the major shows that continue to swell.

A number of major shows “talked about how important it was for them to have more space,” Aguero said. “They said that there are options other than Las Vegas, and Las Vegas needs to make investments to remain competitive. They’re doing that.”

Stowe Shoemaker, dean of UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, agreed.

“As the convention centers expand, we’ll be able to handle bigger conventions,” he said.

Larger and additional conventions also means more visitors to Las Vegas.

Earlier this month, McCarran International Airport topped the 50 million passenger mark for the first time in its 71-year history and 2019 will mark the third-straight year Las Vegas’ airport set an all-time passenger record. It’s very possible that 2020 will also see a new passenger record, just as 2018’s 49.7 million passengers beat out the previous record of 48.5 million passengers set in 2017.

And for conventiongoers coming to Las Vegas for the first time, the visit may result in a return trip, said Kevin Bagger, vice president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Research Center.

“Once people sample the product, regularly it exceeds their expectations,” he said.

The LVCVA and resorts often encourage conventioneers to tie their business trip to a leisure visit by extending their stay past the end of a show.

And with many convention attendees traveling on their company’s dime, their checks tend to be bigger than the average tourist’s.

According to a June report from Applied Analysis and the LVCVA, the average convention traveler spent $970 during their trip, $178 more than the average leisure visitor.

That money adds up fast.

The report found the 6.5 million convention attendees in 2018 directly supported 42,800 jobs and $1.9 billion in wages and had an economic output of $6.3 billion with their spending.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Richard N. Velotta contributed to this story.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Boring Company could provide a solution to parking problems - VIDEO
LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill believes a potential solution for parking problems is the Boring Company’s $52.5 million people-mover -- a system that could eventually be expanded citywide connecting resorts and even McCarran International Airport to the Convention Center.
The Blackstone Group has partnered with MGM Resorts to acquire more properties - VIDEO
A few months after the Blackstone Group bought the Bellagio for more than $4 billion, it has partnered with MGM Resorts on a deal to acquire two other Las Vegas Strip properties. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Young Innovator Award winner explains ReDawn - VIDEO
Sofia Ongele explains ReDawn, which uses a Chatbot named Dawn to help users find resources after a sexual assault. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: MedWand ties for title of Last Gadget Standing - VIDEO
Dr. Samir Qamar of Las Vegas presents MedWand, a medical device that allows physicians to examine patients remotely anywhere in the world, at CES 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley /Las Vegas Review-Journal) @elipagephoto
CES Flying Taxis
Bell Nexus EX4 and Hyundai SA-1 flying taxi prototypes from CES 2020. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020 attendees rides in autonomous BMWs - VIDEO
BMW is pitching its reconfigured i3 Urban Suite, which holds a single passenger on a lounge-style seat, as the possible future of chauffeured rides at CES 2020. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Small appliances unveiled in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The small appliances on show at Sands Expo at CES 2020 in Las Vegas include a Keurig cocktail maker, autonomous cooking system, nitrogen coffee ampules and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: The scooter that will remind you of Wall-E - VIDEO
Segway unveiled the egg-shaped S-Pod Scooter at CES 2020 that’s a seated version of their original scooter that can reach 24mph. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Before the floor opens at Sands Expo on Day One - VIDEO
CES 2020 opened its doors at 10 a.m. Tuesday, welcoming more than 170,000 attendees to the annual electronics show. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: A suitcase that follows you, video games to heal you at Pepcom's Digital Experience - VIDEO
Get a glance at Pepcom’s Digital Experience! a showcase of products that will be at this week’s CES convention. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Impossible Foods Inc. Debuts Impossible Pork - VIDEO
At a pre-CES news conference at Mandalay Bay’s Kumi restaurant Monday night, a company representative announced that the participants were the “first people in the world” to try the new plant-based product, which it provided as samples in the form of Impossible Pork banh mi, char siu buns, dan dan noodles, pork katsu, pork shumai and sweet-sour-and-numbing meatballs.
CES 2020: Impossible Foods debuts Impossible Pork in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Before a packed press conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Impossible Foods executives introduced Impossible Pork, its newest product. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: The Future of Transportation - VIDEO
Many automotive companies at CES unveil their plans for the future of transportation including safer driverless cars, safety features and a partnership between Uber and Hyundai. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: What you've missed so far - VIDEO
Catch up on the tech and events presented at CES 2020. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Samsung debuts 8k TV, MicroLED TV - VIDEO
2020 is set to be a major year for 8k screens, according to Samsung executives. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas resorts welcome dogs to stay
Las Vegas properties are welcoming dogs more than ever. MGM Resorts International announced a new dog-friendly program across all of its Las Vegas properties in December. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Musk 'hopeful' for 2020 completion of underground Las Vegas project - VIDEO
Elon Musk tweeted Friday night that The Boring Company’s underground tunnel project in Las Vegas will be “hopefully fully operational” within the next year. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
World Market Center celebrates topping-off ceremony - VIDEO
Las Vegas elected officials including Councilman Cedric Crear attend topping-off ceremony for the Expo at World Market Center in Las Vegas.
MSG Sphere in Las Vegas will be the largest spherical building in the world - VIDEO
The Madison Square Garden Sphere at The Venetian has now been under construction for about one year and is expected to be completed in 2021. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Aria still thriving after 10 years - VIDEO
The Aria opened on the heels of the Great Recession and managed to survive. It is now known for its art, environmental sustainability and poker. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino
Opening ceremony of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside a casino at the Golden Nugget on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fire damages 7 cars at Las Vegas airport parking garage - VIDEO
Firefighters on Saturday morning extinguished a car blaze that damaged six other vehicles in a parking garage at McCarran International Airport. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Changes Everything: Grandma - LVCVA ad
"Grandma" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
Vegas Changes Everything: Chaos - LVCVA ad
"Chaos" is a new television spot from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority prepared to entice visitors to come during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (Visit Las Vegas/YouTube)
New allegations involved Steve, Elaine Wynn - VIDEO
The new allegations were presented Friday in a motion that included a 2018 affidavit, alleging former hairstylist Jorgen Nielsen tried to convince a friend to say Steve Wynn raped her and that she bore his son. The affidavit also included new allegations suggesting Elaine Wynn and Nielson orchestrated the assault scandal. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fitness chain Life Time acquires former Sullivan Square site
Fitness chain Life Time has acquired the former Sullivan Square site in Las Vegas for $14 million. The southwest valley property, across the street from Ikea, is little more than a giant hole in the ground. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm outlet mall changing its name - VIDEO
Chad Dillow, co-owner of Step Right Up, is building his attraction at Prizm Outlets, which recently changed it name from Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, in Primm. It will include 3D trick art, ax throwing, escape rooms and carnival-themed games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
O.J. Simpson files lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan over TMZ story - VIDEO
A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas defamed O.J. Simpson when hotel employees told TMZ he was kicked out of the casino “for belligerence” in November 2017. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Phil Maloof on selling his Palms Place penthouse.
Phil Maloof sold his 59th-floor penthouse at Palms Place. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bleutech announces Las Vegas land purchase deal
Bleutech Park Properties reached a purchase agreement for 210 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard and Cactus Avenue, project spokesman Tom Letizia announced Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 at a news conference at the M Resort. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Las Vegas will be getting a new slogan

In 2003, “What happens here, stays here” was the buzz of TV talk shows and pop culture. Now, Las Vegas is getting a new slogan that plays off the iconic tag line.