LAS VEGAS

Many awoke Monday morning to news describing a grisly scene along the Las Vegas Strip. A gunman, Stephen Paddock, had opened fire on a crowded country music festival from a 32nd-floor room window of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Obviously, this is devastating and tragic news for those directly involved and their families—so far, 58 have been confirmed dead and 527 injured as of Monday afternoon—and the situation is still developing.

From a meeting and event planning standpoint, security concerns related to mass shootings, terrorism and natural disasters continue to weigh heavily on planners’ minds, especially with the recent hurricanes and now a mass shooting occurring at some of the most highly trafficked U.S. meetings destinations.

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“Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of last night’s shooting, their families, and those still fighting for their lives,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “We are working with law enforcement and will continue to do all we can to help all of those involved.”

Mandalay Bay is one of the largest meeting facilities on the Las Vegas Strip, so the fact that a shooting incident of this magnitude can happen in what is a highly monitored, Vegas resort setting will surely spark future conversations on security at events and what planners can do to keep their attendees safe.

MGM Resorts International initially placed the Mandalay Bay Resort and other nearby resorts on “lockdown” early on Monday morning, but Fox News reported security restrictions have since been lifted. Homeland Security confirmed there was no “specific credible threat” to other public venues in the U.S.

The IMEX team commented on the Las Vegas shooting in an official statement sent via email on Monday, Oct. 2, that is attributed to IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom and IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer.

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“We are shocked and saddened at the events that have taken place in Las Vegas over the past 24 hours. We can confirm that IMEX America will be going ahead at the Sands Expo next week from Oct. 10-12 [the event will also still officially kick off with Smart Monday on Oct. 9]. 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 tradeshow.

"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 send you further information as it becomes available. 

“In the meantime, if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact us and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the industry to IMEX America next week. With Best Regards, 

- Ray Bloom, chairman and Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority also posted the following message on Twitter:

There are already resources out there for planners to continue to develop the conversation on security. One that immediately springs to mind is MPI’s interactive gun laws map, which breaks down gun laws at the individual state level, including each state’s concealed and open carry laws, and links to more info on venue security.

Meetings Today will continue to monitor the situation in Las Vegas as it develops. Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by the tragic shooting incident that occurred on Sunday evening, Oct. 1, 2017.