“Tourism is the economic engine that drives this town and the meeting industry plays a significant role,” Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter said Thursday as local travel industry leaders gathered to mark Global Meetings Industry Day.
The meetings, conventions and trade show industry has a significant impact, supporting 66,500 jobs and generating more than $9.3 billion in economic impact.
Las Vegas boasts more than 11 million square feet of meeting space in addition to a wide array of event, dining and entertainment venues that are also used for group business. Trade Show News Network recently recognized Las Vegas as the No. 1 trade show destination in the country for the 22nd consecutive year for hosting 54 of the top 250 largest trade shows in North America.
To help shine a light on this important industry, top meetings industry professionals in Las Vegas met at the new T-Mobile Arena for a leadership panel discussion.
The event kicked off with a keynote address by Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association. Dow and U.S. Travel are both leaders of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, which provides resources to promote and defend the value of face-to-face business meetings and travel on our economy.
The Meetings Mean Business Coalition launched GMID to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for meetings and events industry leaders to come together and showcase the profound impact of this critical sector on businesses, communities and the economy,” said Dow. “I like to say that there’s no technology that can replace a handshake. The power of the unplanned interactions that so often occur at in-person meetings cannot be overstated. They are what build relationships, drive collaboration and spark ideas.”
U.S. Travel continues to be a leading voice in reminding policymakers of the value of government meetings and travel under all fiscal environments.
The keynote was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Ralenkotter that featured Chuck Bowling, president and COO of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino; Chandra Allison, Vice President of Sales, The Venetian and The Palazzo; Chris Flatt, Executive Vice President of Hotel Sales and Marketing, Wynn Resorts; and Michael Massari, Senior Vice President for National Meetings and Events, Caesars Entertainment.
“We have a saying that nothing good ever happened until someone had a meeting, and this is true when we’re talking about the value and power of connecting with someone face-to-face,” said Massari, treasurer of the U.S. Travel Association and senior vice president of national meetings and events at Caesars Entertainment. “We were once labeled the invisible industry but our value is unmistakable. That’s what makes an event like Global Meetings Industry Day so important. It allows us to celebrate our worth together as an industry while establishing the value to business, communities and the economy to the world.”
Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: .