Las Vegas is back in the convention business.
CES, the city’s biggest annual trade show, will return to Sin City from Jan. 3–8. The consumer technology event will also hold a digital version of the show for people unable or unwilling to attend.
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which hosts the show, said in a statement that 1,000 companies had already signed up to showcase their technologies, including newcomers Caterpillar and Sierra Space.
“We’re thrilled to return to Las Vegas—home to CES for more than 40 years—and look forward to seeing many new and returning faces,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA.
Exactly how CES 2022 will compare to past shows, though, is still very much a question. In 2019, 182,000 people flew into Las Vegas to attend the show. While CES always draws big crowds, it’s uncertain how many people will want to crowd into the Las Vegas Convention Center and other venues along the Las Vegas Strip.
While it won’t require a “vaccination passport” to attend the show, the CTA told Fortune that attendees “should expect some type of health screening that may include proof of antibodies, a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination. As the situation is constantly evolving and we expect changes in guidelines between now and January, we will be tracking and making adjustments.”
CES won’t be the first big convention to return to Las Vegas. That honor goes to World of Concrete, which will gather in June. In years past, that trade show has attracted 55,000 people. And its successes and slip ups will be carefully monitored by many in the convention business.
Conventions are huge revenue generators for their hosts and the cities that house them, making the drive to keep them relevant especially strong. Southern Nevada (including Vegas) saw an estimated 6.6 million people come to conventions in 2019, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority, generating a total economic output of $11.4 billion.
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