Las Vegas will soon return as a top travel destination

The Las Vegas Convention Center located on E Desert Road and Paradise Road. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

When COVID-19 forced Las Vegas to shut down last year, it caused the entertainment capital of the world to go without tourism, an integral part of the city’s identity. However, with the recent White House announcement that fully vaccinated foreign travelers can travel to the U.S. starting Nov. 8, Las Vegas will soon be returning to its former glory as a top travel destination.

Last year, the decline in visitor numbers was unlike anything Las Vegas has seen. A research report made by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) saw 19 million visitors travel to Las Vegas in 2020, a 55 percent drop compared to 2019’s visitor total of 42 million.

The same can be said about the convention industry, which relies heavily on foreign travelers. The 1.7 million visitors in 2020 documented a 74 percent decrease from a record high of 6.6 million visitors in 2019.

In an article published by Devin O’Connor, “Survey Says Americans Miss Conventions, Spark of Good News for Las Vegas,” he discusses the importance of conventions for Las Vegas and a survey the LVCVA created in conjunction with Heart+Mind Strategies about how visitors impact this city.

According to the LVCVA, “Approximately 6.6 million people arrived in Southern Nevada in 2019 for the primary purpose of attending a convention. That’s 15 percent of the 42 million people that arrived in town that year.”

With all that being said, the Las Vegas Convention Center is estimated to bring back mass amounts of people, along with foreign travelers, and will lead Las Vegas back into its pre-pandemic days as a top destination to visit.

“When they come, they tend to spend 50 percent or 60 percent more than a domestic traveler so the 15 percent visitation becomes 20 percent or 25 percent of what is spent here in Las Vegas,” LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill told KSNV News 3 Las Vegas last month.

An event that will benefit from the upcoming arrival of foreign travelers is the Consumer Electronics Show. The trade show hosts companies from all around the world to showcase their latest products and technologies in the consumer electronics industry. 

After spending this year virtually, the show will return to Las Vegas as an in-person event at its usual location at the Las Vegas Convention Center in early January of next year.

While this is good for the economy and reintroducing Las Vegas as a place to visit for such large events, the threat of COVID-19 is still at an all-time high. Most venues with large gatherings will require proof of vaccination or a negative test for entry. Nevertheless, a rise in cases can force Las Vegas into its 2020 slump. 

However, Las Vegas needs to push through and embrace the return of travelers. Not to mention, Las Vegas has always been a top travel destination. According to Tripadvisor, the city was ranked first when it comes to traveling this fall. 

Through these tough times, Las Vegas has shown that its reputation of being a top travel destination has not changed too drastically. With the world finally being able to come back to the U.S., Las Vegas will show up and show out.


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