The driving force in Las Vegas is the tourism industry and the area has about 150,000 hotel rooms, more than any other city in the world. In the past, casinos and celebrity shows were the two major attractions for the area. Now shopping, conventions, fine dining, and outdoor beauty are also major forces in attracting tourist dollars.
Las Vegas serves as world headquarters for the world’s two largest Fortune 500 gaming companies, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International. Several companies involved in the manufacture of electronic gaming machines, such as slot machines, are located in the Las Vegas area. In the first decade of the 21st century, shopping and dining have become attractions of their own. Tourism marketing and promotion are handled by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, a county-wide agency. Its annual Visitors Survey provides detailed information on visitor numbers, spending patterns, and resulting revenues.
While Las Vegas has historically attracted high-stake gamblers from around the world, it is now facing tougher competition from the UK, Hong Kong and Macau (China), Eastern Europe and developing areas in the Middle East.
Las Vegas has recently enjoyed a boom in population and tourism. The urban area has grown outward so quickly that it borders Bureau of Land Management holdings along its edges. This has led to an increase in land values such that medium- and high-density development is occurring closer to the core. The Chinatown of Las Vegas was constructed in the early 1990s on Spring Mountain Road. Chinatown initially consisted of only one large shopping center complex, but the area was expanded with shopping centers that contain various Asian businesses. Over the past few years, retirees have been moving to the metro area, driving businesses that support them from housing to health care.
While the cost of housing spiked up over 40% in 2004, the lack of business and income taxes still makes Nevada an attractive place for many companies to relocate to or expand existing operations. Being a true twenty-four-hour city, call centers have always seemed to find Las Vegas a good place to hire workers who are accustomed to working at all hours.
The construction industry accounts for a share of the economy in Las Vegas. Hotel casinos planned for the Strip can take years to build and employ thousands of workers. Developers discovered that there was demand for high-end condominiums. By 2005, more than 100 condominium buildings were in various stages of development, however, in 2008, the construction industry went into a downturn due to the credit crunch, though the industry has since seen a rebound.
In 2000, more than 21,000 new homes and 26,000 resale homes were purchased. In early 2005, there were 20 residential development projects of more than 300 acres (120 ha) each underway. During that same period, Las Vegas was regarded as the fastest-growing community in the United States.
Other promising residential and office developments have begun construction around Downtown Las Vegas. New condominium and high-rise hotel projects have changed the Las Vegas skyline dramatically in recent years. Many large high-rise projects are planned for Downtown Las Vegas, as well as the Las Vegas Strip.
Construction in Las Vegas is a major industry and quickly growing with the population. In March 2011, construction employed 40,700 people and is expected to grow with the recovering economy. Since the mega resorts that define Las Vegas today began going up in the early 1970s, construction has played a vital role in both commercial and non commercial developments. Cranes are a constant part of the Las Vegas Skyline. At any given time there are 300 new homes being constructed in Las Vegas. Downtown and The Strip always have at least one hospitality project under construction. In addition, in recent years Las Vegas has seen a spike in high-rise housing units. Luxurious condos and penthouse suites are always being built. New suburban master planned communities are also becoming common in Las Vegas ever since The Howard Hughes Corporation began work on Summerlin, an upper-class community on the west side of the valley.
The massive project CityCenter broke ground on June 26, 2006. Now completed at 3780 Las Vegas Boulevard South, it is the largest privately funded building complex in the world. At a cost of $9.2 billion, CityCenter was one of the largest projects in Vegas history. It put a massive strain on the construction ability and workforce of the area due to number of laborers and amount of materials required. Because of this, prices of almost any construction project in Las Vegas doubled. It is currently held by MGM Resorts International and has three hotels, two condo towers, and a hotel-condo building along with a large shopping and entertainment center.
Traditionally, housing consisted primarily of single-family detached homes. Slab-on-grade foundations are the common base for residential buildings in the valley. Apartments generally were two story buildings. Until the 1990s, there were exceptions, but they were few and far between. In the 1990s, Turnberry Associates constructed the first high rise condominium towers. Prior to this, there were only a handful of mid-rise multi-family buildings. By the mid-2000s, there was a major move into high rise condominiums towers, which affected the region’s skyline around the Strip.
The Las Vegas Valley is home to various suburban master planned communities that include extensive recreational amenities such as lakes, golf courses, parks, bike paths and jogging trails. Planned communities in the valley include Aliante, Anthem, Cadence, Centennial Hills, Green Valley, Inspirada, Lake Las Vegas, The Lakes, Mountain’s Edge, Peccole Ranch, Providence, Seven Hills, Skye Canyon, Southern Highlands, and Summerlin.
Some technology companies have either relocated to Las Vegas or were created there. For various reasons, Las Vegas has had a high concentration of technology companies in electronic gaming and telecommunications industries.
Some current technology companies in southern Nevada include: Bigelow Aerospace, Petroglyph, Switch Communications, US Support LLC, Fanatics, and Zappos.
In 2015, Electric vehicle startup Faraday Future has chosen North Las Vegas’s Apex Industrial Park for its $1 billion car factory.
Companies that originally were formed in the Las Vegas region, but have since sold or relocated include Westwood Studios (sold to Electronic Arts), Systems Research & Development (Sold to IBM), Yellowpages.com (Sold to BellSouth and SBC), and MPower Communications.
The major attractions in the Las Vegas Valley are the hotel/casinos. These hotels generally consist of large gambling areas, theaters for live performances, shopping, bars/clubs, and several restaurants and cafes. There are clusters of large hotel/casinos located in both downtown Las Vegas and on the Las Vegas Strip. The largest hotels are mainly located on the Strip, which is a four-mile section of Las Vegas Boulevard. These hotels provide thousands of rooms of various sizes. Fifteen of the world’s 25 largest hotels by room count are on the Strip, with a total of over 62,000 rooms. There are many hotel/casinos in the city’s downtown area as well, which was the original focal point of the Valley’s gaming industry. Several hotel/casinos ranging from large to small are also located around the city and metro area. Many of the largest hotel, casino, and resort properties in the world are located on the Las Vegas Strip.
The valley’s casinos can be grouped into several locations. The largest is the Las Vegas Strip, followed by Downtown Las Vegas, and then the smaller Boulder Strip. There are also several one-off single standing hotel/casinos dotted around the valley and the metro area.
In 2011, the majority of tourists arrived from the western states (55%) with 31% from California alone. Approximately 16% of tourists arrived from outside North America.
Las Vegas has expanded its attractiveness to visitors by offering both affordable and high-end merchandise in many shops and shopping malls. Many hotels on the Las Vegas Strip also have adjacent shopping malls, giving the Las Vegas area the highest concentration of shopping malls in any four mile stretch of road. In addition to the malls on the Strip, there are several outlying malls in the City of Las Vegas, Henderson, and the surrounding area. The monorail, lying somewhat east of the Strip, facilitates north–south travel, including stations at several casinos and the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Las Vegas holds many of the world’s largest conventions each year, including CES, SEMA, and Conexpo. The Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the largest in the world with 1,940,631 sq ft (180,290.5 m2) of exhibit space. These events bring in an estimated $7.4 billion of revenue to the city each year, and host over 5 million attendees.
Major shopping attractions
- Bonanza Gift Shop
- The Boulevard Mall
- The Shops at Crystals
- Downtown Summerlin
- Galleria at Sunset
- Grand Canal Shoppes
- Fantastic Indoor Swap Meet
- Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas
- Fashion Show Mall
- The Forum Shops at Caesars
- Las Vegas Premium Outlets
- Meadows Mall
- Miracle Mile Shops
- Stratosphere Tower Shops
- Studio Walk at MGM Grand
- The Shops at Summerlin Centre
- The Shoppes at the Palazzo
- Tivoli Village
- Town Square