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Convention goers enter the World of Concrete trade show at the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Las Vegas kicked off its first large-scale convention and tradeshow in more than 15 months on Tuesday when the World of Concrete took over the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The three-day construction industry conference also became the first tenant to utilize the convention center’s $1 billion West Hall, a 1.4 million-square-foot expansion that was completed in January. 

Gov. Steve Sisolak, along with county and city elected officials, helped Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill cut the ribbon on the expansion.

The addition of the West Hall brings the total square feet of meeting space in Las Vegas to 14 million. The Las Vegas Convention Center is now the second-largest conference facility in the country. According to the LVCVA, the meeting and convention industry represent $11.4 billion in economic impact to Southern Nevada during a normal year.

The World of Concrete attendees were also the first conference delegates to utilize The Loop, a mile-and-a-half-long underground transportation system that shuttles conference and tradeshow attendees through the Convention Center’s 200-acre campus in less than two minutes – a task that on foot takes up to 25 minutes.

The system runs 40 feet beneath the ground and was constructed by billionaire Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. for $52.5 million and utilizes Tesla vehicles. 

It’s unclear how many attendees are at World of Concrete, which drew more than 50,000 to its last event in Las Vegas in January 2020.

COVID-19 sent the Las Vegas gaming and tourism market to record-setting lows in 2020. The year included a 78-day shutdown of all gaming activities. Convention and meeting attendance was annihilated by the pandemic, with the number of delegates collapsing to a little more than 1.7 million, a decline of 74 percent from the more than 6.6 million meeting attendees in 2019.

World of Concrete trade show conventioneer walks in the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
A show girl dressed in construction gear during the ribbon cutting at the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
Gov. Steve Sisolak, left and Steve Hill, LVCVA CEO, right, share scissors during the ribbon cutting at the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
The view of the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
Construction equipment from the World of Concrete trade show on display in front of the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
LVCC Loop carries passengers during the World of Concrete trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
LVCC Loop carries passengers during the World of Concrete trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
Construction equipment from the World of Concrete trade show on display in the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
A set of heavy duty tires on display at the OTR Wheel Engineering booth at World of Concrete trade show in the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
A convention goer walks the floor at the World of Concrete trade show in the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
Convention goers enter the World of Concrete trade show at the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
Construction equipment at the World of Concrete trade show on display at the $1 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)
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