Concrete Convention Returns to Las Vegas June 1
The World is watching....
The World of Concrete — is staging a bricklaying competition — is the first large, in-person trade show scheduled in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic began. The stakes are high, even for a city like Las Vegas that is accustomed to high stakes.
“Everyone has their eyes on this,” said Tommy Blitsch, director of trade shows and conventions for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and principal officer of Local 631 in Las Vegas.
The show will be hosting tens of thousands of attendees hopefully with no major problem, such as a virus outbreak, it will be a milestone, signaling the revival of the convention business across the country. But if there is a big snag or people stay away, it could be a setback for cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami, and especially Las Vegas, where tourism is rebounding but big-spending business travelers are scarce.
Cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are declining. World of Concrete plans several safety precautions. Casinos, where conventioneers are likely to spend free time, have prodded workers to get vaccinated; several large casinos say 80 to 90 percent of their employees have received at least one shot. That compares with about 54 percent of eligible people 16 and over in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located.
No one expects this year’s convention to draw 50,000 to 60,000 people, as it has in the past. Blitsch hopes attendance will reach half that. Informa Markets said it does not share attendance estimates in advance because they can fluctuate widely before an event.
In pre-pandemic years, conventions and trade shows generated about $11 billion in annual revenue for the Las Vegas area and employed tens of thousands of workers, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. For more than a year, that spigot has been almost totally shut.
Las Vegas is desperate to lure business travelers back, who spend money in restaurants and on rental cars, and fill up hotel rooms during the week.
With its heavy reliance on tourism, the metropolitan area took an especially brutal battering during the pandemic, posting an unemployment rate of more than 33 percent in April 2020, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. Business travelers keep Las Vegas open weekdays.