Advertising and Marketing Opportunities with Odyssey Media Group

M.I.C.E. Venues

 April 12, 2009
The Las Vegas Convention Center Celebrates 50 Years

 On April 12, 1959, the Las Vegas Convention Center opened its doors and welcomed a new audience to the resort destination -- convention visitors.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the entity created to operate the convention center and market Las Vegas as a convention and tourism destination, will mark the anniversary April 14 at their board of directors meeting.

"Southern Nevada leaders and the state legislature recognized an opportunity to attract a new visitor segment to boost mid-week and off season visitation," said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the LVCVA. "Their vision helped Las Vegas become the top meetings and convention destination it is today."

The Las Vegas Convention Center regularly hosts some of the largest and most prestigious trade shows in the world, but it has been much more to the area and its residents. In its early days, the convention center often served as a community gathering place, hosting such events as concerts, sporting events, graduation ceremonies and more.

Today, the Las Vegas Convention Center hosts approximately 100 trade shows that attract 1.5 million visitors and generate more than $2 billion annually for the Southern Nevada economy. Together with the Sands Expo and Convention Center and the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the Las Vegas Convention Center has helped make Las Vegas the No. 1 trade show destination in North America for 14 consecutive years.

The original center featured 90,000 square feet of exhibit space and 18 meeting rooms, but the marquee feature was the 20,340-square-foot rotunda on the front of the building. Today, the facility has grown to a 3.2 million-square-foot building with nearly 2 million square feet of exhibit space and more than 140 meeting rooms.