Las Vegas has lodged a record-breaking convention year, with its mega tech events helping it to attract 6.3 million business travellers in 2016.

Away from its casinos, one of the city’s biggest drawcards is the annual consumer technology tradeshow CES in January. In 2016, the event drew 177,393 attendees from across the globe to experience technology innovation spanning 2.47 million net square feet of exhibition space. Viewed as the launch pad for new technology by more than 3,800 exhibiting companies, it also hosts a conference programme featuring more than 300 sessions.

Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the technology trade association representing the $287 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, it attracts the world’s business leaders and pioneering thinkers to a forum addressing the industry’s most pressing issues. Companies from Samsung, Sony, LG and HTC brought their best to the recent 2017 gathering, from virtual reality to smartwatches.

Other major events that Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) help oversee include InfoComm in June, the largest pro-AV event in the US, which broke records for attendance (39,000) and exhibitors (1,000) last year. Even mega security tradeshow ISC West in April (30,000 delegates), is co-located with the Connected Security Expo, bringing cyber and physical security together. Meanwhile DEF CON, one of the world’s largest annual hacker conventions, is held annually in Las Vegas, attracting 22,000 people in 2016.

Nevada now aims to capitalise on this annual influx of IT innovators by building on its own growing information technology sector. The state’s favourable tax climate and growing industry support is proving popular with start-ups. Technology giant Switch Communications, a powerful data center and technology ecosystem, has opened The InNEVation Center in Las Vegas, a 65,000-square-foot collaborative workspace and community event venue driving Nevada’s new high-tech economy. Another major player, online retail brand Zappos.com is behind a push to drive downtown Las Vegas into a leading live-work-play technology zone.

Apple has plans to open a massive iCloud data center in Reno, in large part because of proximity to its Silicon Valley headquarters, spurring growing interest in the region from other tech companies. Reno itself is also home to collaborative workspace the Reno Collective and tech incubator C4Cube, while Carson City hosts Incubator 1.

Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of LVCVA, said: “Las Vegas continues to see increased interest in the destination. Together with our resort partners, we look forward to aggressively marketing the destination around the world to continue attracting more visitors and break the record again this year.”

(via AMI, CES)

Featured image: The LG OLED TV display at CES 2017 in Las Vegas (Creedit: CES)