World of Concrete helps build solid foundation for Southern Nevada convention tourism to rebound in 2023


On the heels of what will likely be the largest trade show in Las Vegas this year, the city will host another big one before the month is out.

World of Concrete, a construction industry staple, will take place January 17-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Like the CES tech event that ran January 5-8, this year’s version of World of Concrete will be another step toward normalcy within the trade show industry, which was gutted by the effects the coronavirus pandemic had on travel and large gatherings.

Last year’s World of Concrete show attracted about 37,000 attendees and exhibitors, according to show organizers.

This year, it’s possibly close to 60,000 people could attend, said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The show—geared toward the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries—will feature some 1,100 exhibitors.

“The show will definitely be bigger than the past two editions,” said Steven Pomerantz of Informa Markets, the company that puts on World of Concrete and dozens of other trade shows around the globe. “By how much, we won’t know exactly until after the show, as people register up to and during the show.”

In a statement, Jackie James, vice president of the World of Concrete show, said this year’s convention will highlight “advancements in material ingenuity and growth of the trucking sector.”

The show will highlight advancements made in aerated concrete products, which can be much lighter than traditional concrete pieces, partly because they’re made mostly of air.

An entire pavilion this year
will be dedicated to “autoclaved aerated concrete” solutions, show organizers said.

The convention will also debut a panel session presented by the Women’s Association of Concrete Professionals, one of the top associations for women in the concrete industry.

As of last year, women comprised roughly 14% of the construction industry in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

World of Concrete officials expect that figure to grow in the coming years.

“World of Concrete celebrates progress in the business while also providing a platform to discuss and train on the critical topics of tomorrow,” Kevin Thornton, senior vice president of construction at Informa Markets, said in a statement.

As for the return of the trade show industry, that’s been a welcome trend for Las Vegas tourism officials.

The city relies on the many large conventions that take place in Las Vegas annually to keep guests in hotel rooms during the week, when drive-in visitor traffic from places like Southern California and Arizona is lighter than on a weekend.

Before the pandemic struck in 2020, Las Vegas was drawing more than 6.5 million conventiongoers a year.

“We expect 2023 to be a great year,” Hill said. “I think there’s a good possibility that we will get back this year to the number of attendees to meetings and events that we had pre-COVID.”

By 2026, Hill said, Las Vegas officials hope to have more than 8 million conventiongoers visiting the city.

Las Vegas added 3.5 million square feet of meeting space during the pandemic, Hill said.

“If you take that into the equation, a complete recovery for what we had in 2019 is really a stop along the way,” he said. “By the time we get to 2026, our goal is to get to 8.3 million meeting attendees in Las Vegas.”

Partly because of where they fall on the calendar, having large shows like CES—which pulled in about 100,000 visitors this year—and World of Concrete in January provides a big boost to the Las Vegas tourism effort.

While New Year’s Eve is a popular time for visitors in Las Vegas, the winter months tend to be slower than other times of the year.

In December, tourism officials rely on the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to help bring folks to town.

In January, it’s CES and events like the World of Concrete—and perhaps a Las Vegas Raiders home game or two—that help move the needle.

“Having CES back, basically close to full strength, that’s a tremendous morale booster for the city,” Hill said. “With CES and World of Concrete, what a great way to get started in 2023.”

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This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.


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