To attract visitors by promoting Las Vegas as the world's most desirable destination for leisure and business travel.
Las Vegas has long been a favorite recreation destination for millions of visitors. In the early 1950s, however, community leaders realized that the cyclical nature of tourism caused a significant decline in the number of visitors during the weekdays, throughout the summer months and over the Christmas season. A new market was identified in order to attract more visitors to the area during the slow periods - convention attendees.
Visionary elected officials, convinced that convention business was crucial to the growth of the city, went before the Nevada State Legislature to ask for funding. In 1955, the State Legislature agreed to finance the Clark County Fair and Recreation Board (the precursor to the LVCVA) with moneys acquired from a room tax levied on hotel and motel properties in Clark County. This revenue, paid for by tourists and not by local residents, allowed the Las Vegas Convention Center to be constructed and operate without any tax assessment on Clark County residents, and allowed the LVCVA to begin a program of destination marketing.
On April 29, 1959, the Las Vegas Convention Center officially opened with a 20,340-square-foot rotunda, 18 meeting rooms and a 90,000-square-foot exhibit hall. In its first year of operation, the LVCVA hosted eight conventions that were attended by 22,519 delegates. Now, Las Vegas regularly hosts more than 21,000 conventions and meetings attended by nearly 5.9 million delegates annually.
Today, the entire Southern Nevada economy is heavily dependent on the hotel, gaming and convention industry, which employs more than one-quarter of the county's labor force. The viability of the economy in Clark County is dependent upon the volume of visitors to the region.
The LVCVA provides a vital service for the public by contributing to the growth of the economy in all of Southern Nevada. The LVCVA's marketing efforts cover all of the more than 160,000 hotel and motel rooms in Southern Nevada. The room inventory includes Las Vegas and surrounding areas: Laughlin, Boulder City, Jean, Primm, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Mesquite.
The LVCVA is unlike a typical convention and visitors bureau in that it is not a membership-based organization. The LVCVA is a governmental agency. It was established by a state law, is funded by a county room tax and is governed by an autonomous board of directors.
State law establishes the number, appointment and terms of the LVCVA's board of directors. The 14-member board provides guidance and establishes policies to accomplish the LVCVA mission of attracting an ever-increasing number of visitors to Southern Nevada.
Although a political subdivision of the state of Nevada, the LVCVA board is unique in that its 14 members include six representatives from the private sector. Clark County and the city of Las Vegas each have two representatives, while the cities of North Las Vegas, Henderson, Mesquite and Boulder City each have one seat. Private-sector members, nominated by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and Nevada Resort Association, represent the hotel industry and general business interest.
The LVCVA board is one of the most successful public-private partnerships in the country.