The Nation Mourns Tragedy in Las Vegas

Author: David McMillin       

The country is reeling from the unthinkable tragedy that took place on Sunday evening in Las Vegas, a city near and dear to the events industry, when a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino killing at least 59, and injuring more than 500 of the 22,000 concert-goers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

“On behalf of everyone at PCMA, I send my support, prayers, and condolences to everyone at the Route 91 Harvest Festival,” said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of PCMA. “The attack strikes at the foundation of the events industry. People want to come together to smile, to laugh, and to celebrate. Las Vegas has been synonymous with that spirit of celebration, and we know our friends and counterparts in the Las Vegas convention and tourism community will stand together in the face of this horrific act.”

“The thoughts and prayers of all of Las Vegas go out to the victims and their families,” Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said in a statement. “This was a horrific, yet isolated, incident. At this time, it is important to allow the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police to conclude their investigation into the incident and to attend to the needs of the victims and their families. Las Vegas is a strong community that will work through this tragic incident. We are grateful beyond words to our incomparable law enforcement, first responders and everyone who continues to help victims and their families.

Next week, the meetings and events industry will come together in Las Vegas for IMEX America. “We are shocked and saddened at the events that have taken place in Las Vegas recently,” Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, said in a statement after the attack. “Both IMEX America and the Sands have very strong security in place, with both visible and plain clothes security teams in the venue and at the trade show. Over the coming days, we will be working closely with the Sands, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Las Vegas authorities to assess any additional security measures that are needed at this time. We will take their full advice in ensuring the best possible security and safety of our guests. We will give further information as it becomes available.”

How to Help

There are many questions surrounding the tragedy, but there is one clear way to help: Donate blood. With hundreds in the hospital, United Blood Services has already started taking donations. If you live in the Las Vegas area, the centers are located at 6930 West Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas and 601 Whitney Ranch Drive in Henderson.

Looking Ahead to Additional Event Security

The tragedy underscores the importance of evaluating event-security needs. “We are in ‘a new normal’ of determining how to keep attendees safe,” Sexton said. “This issue keeps returning, and there are no easy answers.”

As event organizers work to tackle the issues of gun safety and terrorism, PCMA is making its risk-management resources available to everyone at no charge:

Thanks to RIMS for making this webinar available to help the events industry.

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