Convention comeback: 2 million business travelers came to Las Vegas through May

Las Vegas conventions are seeing massive increases in attendance, but are still not at pre-pandemic numbers.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 11:26 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Convention and business travel in Las Vegas reached close to 2 million visitors through May, showing an astronomical recovery in 2022 as figures still trail pre-pandemic tourism levels.

Convention and business travel encompass an $11 billion industry for the Entertainment Capital of the World.

According to latest reports from the LVCVA, business travel through May 2022 surged 878% past the previous year, when only 204,400 people visited Las Vegas from January to May 2021. Business tourism figures were still down 34% compared to a similar timeframe in 2019.

According to Clark County Commission Chair Jim Gibson, who sits on the LVCVA board, all pre-pandemic conventions have returned to Las Vegas, but attendance is still down.

“All the shows are still back and are back in town. We’ve signed more specialty shows than ever before. We continue to sign new shows every day. We predicted probably 2024 before we were fully back. I think that one could make the argument that may happen earlier,” Gibson said.

Las Vegas has not seen a full return of international business travel, which contributes to diminished attendance.

“International travel is improving and increasing, but it’s not fully back. And that will make a very large difference. Much of what needs to be done is out of our control. When foreign governments have dealt with, or foreign people have dealt with, the effects of COVID in their country in a way that people get more comfortable traveling, that will that will also be helpful,” Gibson said.

The dropping of testing requirements for U.S. entry has caused a surge of travelers seeking to go abroad, this summer. In a mark of optimism over the return of international travel, the LVCVA created tourism offices in Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany-- the biggest tourism markets for Las Vegas.

“Formula One will be coming here in November of 2023. That will do an awful lot to open up international travel all by itself,” Gibson said.