LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Tourism and sales executives see plenty of reasons to celebrate. It’s Global Meetings Industry Day, and Las Vegas is bringing business back.

In a symbolic photo opportunity, the president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Steve Hill, met sales leaders from the Strip’s top convention resorts at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign to mark the occasion.

From left, Steve Blanner of Wynn Resorts, Chandra Allison of The Venetian, Steve Hill of the LVCVA, Stephanie Glanzer of MGM Resorts and Michael Massari of Caesars Entertainment. (LVCVA photo)

And while it’s been a tough climb back, conventions have been building momentum and sales teams have been working hard to make it happen. The industry is still trying to get back to levels seen in 2019. Shows including SEMA, CES and World of Concrete have returned, but attendance is still down.

Nevertheless, the LVCVA reports that 2.2 million people have attended Las Vegas conventions since June 2021. The West Hall expansion at the Las Vegas Convention Center is an important addition moving forward.

“Today we celebrate the many contributions that help Las Vegas maintain its position as the number one trade show destination,” Hill said. “We have been honored to welcome our trade show organizers, exhibitors and attendees back to Las Vegas for valuable, in-person connections and we are grateful for their business and commitment to our destination.”

Global Meetings Industry Day showcases the financial impact of conventions and business meetings to the U.S. economy. The pandemic’s crushing effect on business travel cost the economy an estimated $211 billion, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Cancellations and adjustments to meetings, conventions and trade shows accounted for $97 billion of that total.

“As co-chair of Meetings Mean Business, I encourage everyone to advocate for the industry,” said Michael Massari, chief sales officer for Caesars Entertainment. “To bring business back to 2019 levels, we must continue to do what we do best – plan and execute extraordinary meetings and events.”

“The Venetian meetings team is passionate about helping our customers return to in-person events safely,” said Chandra Allison, senior vice president of sales of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. “The last couple of years have solidified the need for in-person meetings and events. As an industry, we need to continue to advocate for the positive impact in-person meetings have on communities and how they bring people together.”

“Our team liaises with clients every day that recognize the importance of face-to-face interaction and delivering a first-class experience that warrants travel,” said Steve Blanner, executive vice president of hotel sales for Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. “Now more than ever, groups place safety and meticulous event programming in the forefront and we are steadfast partners in every step of that process to ensure a successful and memorable event. There is no place in the world that delivers the excitement of Las Vegas.”

“This GMID is a true celebration of our resilience as an industry,” said Stephanie Glanzer, chief sales officer and senior vice president of MGM Resorts International. “We emerged better and stronger with new creative approaches, enhanced technology and an overwhelming desire to develop events that are not only productive for our attendees, but also meaningful and memorable.”