LAS VEGAS – The fact that CES is bringing an estimated 100,000 people to Las Vegas for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic is expected to benefit companies ranging from The Strip to local shops downtown.
Business owners expressed enthusiasm for a year that may equal pre-pandemic levels of travel.
In response to COVID worries, CES went totally virtual in 2021, costing Las Vegas businesses an estimated $300,000,000.
In 2022, big corporations such as Microsoft and Google announced their withdrawal from in-person participation at CES, indicating a down year for convention industry.
“We anticipate a fantastic year in 2023,” said Steve Hill, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
While CES attendance isn’t likely to approach pre-pandemic levels in 2023, Hill believes the calendar’s more than 60 scheduled events and trade exhibits will bring pre-pandemic visitor counts to Las Vegas companies like Rebar in the Arts District.
“It’s really excellent news for little businesses like us in the Arts District,” Rebar owner and Arts District Board member Derek Stonebarger said.
Many corporations, even larger ones, have been drawn to small businesses for convention activities such as after parties, according to Stonebarger, as prices climb across the board.
“They’ll need locations to meet, and that’s where we come in,” he explained. “We’re a far better value.”
Owner Jason Taylor of Nevada Brew Works down the street predicted a lucrative 2023 as businesses look outside the strip.
“There’s a lot of traffic,” stated Taylor. “You could drive an hour to your hotel or walk directly into the Arts District and be at Nevada Brew Works in five minutes.”
Years of stumbling blocks, pandemic shutdowns, travel limitations, virtual meetings, and other challenges, according to Stonebarger, have prepared business owners for a hopefully smooth sailing ahead.
“We navigated it,” he continued, “and we feel like you could basically throw anything at us, and we’re not going away. We made it through. As strange as it may sound, anything is now relatively simple for us.”
Shot Show, the nation’s largest sport shooting and hunting event, will begin on January 17 after CES concludes on Sunday.
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