|October 27, 2015|
Las Vegas Convention Center District Expansion and Renovation Critical To Staying Competitive
|The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), along with some of the industry's top trade show organizers met in Las Vegas last week to advocate for the expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center District (LVCCD.) LVCVA President/CEO Rossi Ralenkotter presented the LVCCD strategic master plan to the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee (SNTIC), which was formed through executive order by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to help prioritize Southern Nevada's tourism projects.|
The LVCVA is seeking $1.4 billion in funding for the expansion and renovation of the LVCCD that is expected to create thousands of jobs, pump billions of dollars into the local economy and help maintain Las Vegas' 21 consecutive year run as the No. 1 trade show destination in North America.
The trade show industry is extremely competitive, and rival cities, aimed at stealing lucrative business, see Las Vegas as their biggest target. While not a current option, leaving Las Vegas is not out of the question if future needs are not met according to representatives from the city's largest trade shows including CES, National Association of Broadcasters, SEMA Show, International Council of Shopping Centers, ConExpo-CON/AGG and UBM-Advanstar. They formed a six-member panel and spoke candidly about the challenges they are facing to grow their shows and urged the committee to think strategically about the future of the trade show industry in Las Vegas and to act quickly.
CES is the largest annual trade show in North America with more than 150,000 attendees, 3,600 exhibitors and spans more than 2 million square feet.
"Demand for our show is high and frankly we are running out of space," said Karen Chupka, senior vice president of International Consumer Electronics Show and Corporate Business Strategy. "We will again break records in 2016 and for the first time this year, we are capping attendance which affects the show."
Chris Brown, executive vice president of conventions and business operations for the National Association of Broadcasters told the committee this is a critical moment for the history of the city.
"We are completely out of meeting space which is a key issue because we cannot add new educational programs which impacts our ability to grow attendance," said Brown.
He added that the current facility is "tired" and lacks quality food services and gathering areas that should be addressed.
"I'm pleased to say we are bursting at the seams," said Chris Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA. "The 2015 show will be our largest in history but when we look to the future, we will be challenged to keep the experiences relevant and contemporary with the changes in the industry."
Tim McGuinness, staff vice president of global trade exposition with International Council of Shopping Centers told the committee that his organization almost moved its annual RECon show to another city but reconsidered after learning about the proposed expansion.
"Our customers come here for the experience. This upgrade is long overdue, it should have been done a long time ago," said McGuinness.
The triennial ConExpo-CON/AGG will be in Las Vegas in 2017 and the demand for space has grown by more than one million net square feet over the 2014 show.
"If you build it, we will come and we will stay," said Megan Tanel, vice president of exhibitions and events at ConExpo-CON/AGG. "It's critical that the Las Vegas Convention Center keep pace with our growth, as well as our exhibitors' growing demand for world-class indoor and outdoor space."
Tony Calanca, executive vice president of exhibitions for UBM-Advanstar, producers of the bi-annual MAGIC Marketplace, rounded out the panel and agreed that this project is long overdue and urged key decision makers to think bigger.
"Make no small plans, this is Las Vegas," Calanca said. "You will not stay world class by doing the minimum, you need to do more. This forward-looking project will ensure the city's leadership role and its continued primacy in the exhibition industry."
The Las Vegas Convention Center District is the most aggressive master plan the LVCVA has ever embarked on and addresses the needs of the destination today and moving forward for the next 25-30 years.
The SNTIC will consider funding options for the LVCCD and other tourism-related projects and make recommendations to Governor Sandoval next year.
The LVCCD strategic master plan includes the construction of a new 600,000-square-foot exhibit hall on the 26-acre Riviera site that will include corresponding meeting rooms, pre-function space, service and support areas. in addition, the plan calls for the renovation of the existing 3.2 million-square-foot facility and additional improvements based on customer feedback.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is charged with marketing Southern Nevada as a tourism and convention destination worldwide, and also with operating the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center. With more than 150,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas alone and nearly 11 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space citywide, the LVCVA's mission centers on attracting ever increasing numbers of leisure and business visitors to the area.