Las Vegas Continues To Challenge Convention

International and national visitor numbers rise, for both tourism and business

Speaking to ITB Berlin News, Michael Goldsmith (VP International Sales, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) reflects on a third consecutive recordbreaking year for tourism in Las Vegas, by breaking down the numbers and explaining the strategy behind this continuing growth.

Las Vegas set an all-time visitation record of more than 42.9 million visitors in 2016. The increased visitation is a result of strong convention attendance, new direct airline service and the addition of new world-class dining and entertainment options. Las Vegas has been the number 1 trade show destination in North America for a record 22 consecutive years for hosting 60 of the largest 250 trade shows. Convention attendance continues to be strong as we welcomed a record 6.3 million delegates last year. With nearly 150,000 hotel rooms, and more than 11 million square feet of meeting space, Las Vegas has something to meet every group’s needs. International visitation is also a key growth market for Las Vegas with nearly 7 million travellers a year coming from all around the world. Airline development is a critical component to attracting more visitors and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority works closely with McCarran International Airport to attract new routes. We are excited to welcome two new direct routes from Germany this year. Condor Airlines will launch new direct service from Munich in May and Eurowings will launch direct service from Cologne in June. The convenience of these added routes will likely add to the more than 218,000 visitors from Germany who currently visit Las Vegas each year.


Chinese visitors are increasingly important. What is being done to bolster their numbers?

We see the Chinese market as an important growth market for Las Vegas especially now with the addition of the first nonstop service from Beijing through Hainan Airlines. As the US-China market continues to grow, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will continue to take steps to drive Chinese tourism to Las Vegas, and make sure we are ready to properly welcome our guests. Looking ahead, Resorts World Las Vegas is slated to open in 2019, with 3,500 rooms featuring an Asian-themed experience featuring a replica of the Great Wall of China, an elaborate garden attraction, and several Chinese cuisine offerings.

Several major new hotels opened last year; any upcoming openings of note?

2017 is going to be a very exciting year for Las Vegas. The Wynn Plaza is scheduled to open in the fall, adding more than 75,000 square feet of luxury retail space on the Las Vegas Strip. Monte Carlo will be completely reimagined and redesigned as two hotels, Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas, which will also feature a NoMad restaurant and an outpost of New York’s popular Eataly NYC. The new 20,000- seat T-Mobile Arena opened this past April and will be home to the NHL expansion team and Las Vegas’ first professional sports team, the Vegas Golden Knights.

How are you leveraging new technologies, such as VR, to promote Vegas ?

Whether that is through our Virtual Reality app, Vegas VR, our new trade show stand technology, or other social channels, we are looking to tell engaging stories that leave consumers thinking about Las Vegas differently, or simply thinking about planning their next trip to the destination. We recently launched an innovative trade show stand, Vegas Interactive, which is on display here at ITB. It features an interactive video wall that allows users to access detailed information about hotel, convention and event spaces through the power of touch-screen technology. It also features an aviation route map that showcases domestic and international direct routes to Las Vegas. Las Vegas is an exciting market to promote with so many different types of travellers and these new technologies give us many platforms to reach a variety of audiences.