The following article originally appeared in the "Letters to the Editor" of the Las Vegas Sun.
Exhibitions and events are an integral part of Nevada’s economy. Per the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, tourism, entertainment and gaming are a key driver of the state’s economy, accounting for 433,405 statewide jobs in 2019, 117% above the national average.
The tourism industry in Southern Nevada remains the biggest driver of economic activity in the region, with direct visitor spending in 2018 estimated at $34.5 billion according to Applied Analysis. In total, the Southern Nevada tourism industry is estimated to directly employ 234,000 workers, equating to 23.9 percent of the region’s total workforce and 26.7 percent of private sector employment in 2018.
According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) economist Dr. Allen Shaw, exhibitions and events contributed more than $100 billion to the US GDP in 2019. Dr. Shaw has projected an economic loss in the U.S. of upwards of $22 Billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its ripple effects on the U.S. economy. You can read the press release here.
The unprecedented public health crisis we’re facing right now has ground business meetings and events to a halt and put Nevadans who rely on spending from these events in peril.
Countless organizations in Nevada, including my own, exist to facilitate the business of face-to-face interactions in order to conduct business around the country and the world, and these events fuel the local economy, along with millions of jobs nationwide. The U.S. exhibitions industry and the businesses that support these events contribute so much to our
community, many of them small businesses, and we simply cannot weather this storm on our own.
Our broader industry has called on Washington to establish a fund to keep workers employed, provide emergency liquidity for businesses servicing events to remain open and increase funding for the Small Business Administration loan program. Congress must act today to ensure the Nevada business events industry and its more than 400,00 workers can
sustain themselves through this painful economic period.