Rock to Road

CONEXPO’s value to Las Vegas

Breaking down the numbers at North America's biggest show

March 27, 2017  By  Andrew Snook

March 27, 2017 – Although it is well known that CONEXPO-CON/AGG is a massive trade show that takes place every three years at the Las Vegas Convention Center, some readers may be unaware of just how large the show truly is. To help understand the size and scope of the trade show, I recently spoke with Chris Meyer, vice-president of global business sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), who happily ran me through the show numbers.

“It’s the largest trade show in North America,” Meyer said, adding that the LVCVA get two sets of attendee numbers from show organizers: the estimated attendance before the show and the verified attendance afterwards.

The final attendance for the show was nearly 128,000 – almost right on the money of the 129,000 estimated attendees.

So what does that add up to in dollars spent in the City of Lights?


According to Meyer, it adds up to about US$120.4 million. That’s a lot of coin – enough to make the most vigilant of casino slot jockeys’ arms fall off from overuse.

What about set up times?

Well, the massive show takes approximately 28 days from start to finish to set up and requires thousands of people working at any given time.

The meetings industry is a significant employer for the city with 66,500 local jobs and provides approximately US$9 billion worth of economic impact annually.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 is one of more than 22,000 events that take place in Las Vegas every year. In 2016, a record 6.3 million convention attendees and 42.9 million visitors descended upon Las Vegas.

Meyer told me that there is no place in the world that plays host to more meetings, conventions or tradeshows. I’m inclined to believe him.

The trade show requires a massive amount of space for the thousands of exhibits on display.

Exhibitors this year took over the entire 191-acre exhibit space, which includes all the outdoor lots and the entire Las Vegas Convention Center, which offers just under two million square feet of indoor exhibit space.

An added bonus this year for show attendees is an additional 26 acres of space that became available after the Riviera Hotel & Casino was torn down.

Of the 128,000 attendees that attended CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017, about 21 per cent are foreign visitors from all over the world with Canada likely taking the No. 1 spot for international visitors at this particular show, according to Meyer. Considering that Canada dwarfs all other countries in the importing of U.S. construction equipment that hardly comes as a surprise. And “dwarf” isn’t overstating our love for U.S. equipment.

The 2016 mid-year report from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) showed that U.S. construction exports to Canada totalled $2.4 billion, which was more than the next top-nine countries combined (Mexico was the second largest importer for U.S. equipment at $561 million).

After walking the show last week and speaking with many of the thousands of exhibitors, I’d say Canada’s No. 1 position for the importation of U.S. equipment isn’t about to fade anytime soon. Optimism for the sector could definitely be felt from attendees and exhibitors over the entire course of the show, and with optimism comes investment.

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