LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — CES brought an estimated 100,000 people to Las Vegas for the first time before the coronavirus pandemic began to benefit businesses from The Strip to downtown local stores.
Business owners said they are excited about a year that could be filled with travel comparable to the pre-pandemic year.
For example, in 2021 CES will be fully virtualized in response to COVID concerns, costing Las Vegas businesses an estimated $300 million.
In 2022, major companies such as Microsoft and Google have canceled in-person attendance at CES, making two back years for convention business.
Steve Hill, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said:
While CES attendance wasn’t expected to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2023, Hill said the calendar’s more than 60 events and trade fairs are expected to continue to grow in Las Vegas, including the Arts District’s Rebar. I expected it could bring the business to pre-pandemic visitor numbers. .
“This is great news for small businesses,” said Derek Stoneberger, Rebar owner and Arts District Commissioner.
Stoneberger said many businesses, even large ones, are attracted to small businesses for convention events such as afterparties.
“They’re going to need a place to gather. That’s where we come in,” he said. “We have a much better deal.”
At the Nevada Brewworks down the street, owner Jason Taylor said he expects the company to be profitable in 2023 as it thinks outside the Strip.
“There’s a lot of traffic,” Taylor said. “It could take him an hour to get to the hotel, or you could fly into the Arts District and get him to the Nevada Brewery in five minutes.”
After years of disruptions, pandemic shutdowns, travel restrictions, virtual meetings and more, difficult times have prepared business owners for hopeful and easy sailing, Stoneberger said.
“We got through it,” he said.
CES concludes Sunday with the Shot Show, the nation’s largest sport shooting and hunting competition, which is set to begin January 17th.