Global tech show CES in Las Vegas returns in 2022 in person, but smaller


FILE PHOTO: Tesla electric cars are lined up in front of two one-way tunnels built by Elon Musk's The Boring Company at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Nevada, U.S., April 2021 to connect the new west hall to the rest of the center in this handout obtained by Reuters. The tunnels will debut in June at the World of Concrete show and also serve tech show CES visitors in January 2022. Courtesy LVCVA/Stephen Morgan/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Global tech show CES, held every year in January in Las Vegas, will return to the physical world in 2022, but organizer Consumer Technology Association said on Wednesday it will be smaller as COVID-19-related travel restrictions are likely to keep companies and crowds at bay.

Before the pandemic, CES was the largest annual show in Las Vegas and in 2020 drew about 170,000 attendees with about 4,000 companies exhibiting their technology and gadgets. CTA expects 75,000 attendees next year and so far 1,000 companies have committed to the show, with more expected, said Jean Foster, senior vice president of marketing and communications.

CES in 2021 was a fully digital show, and Foster said that while all companies must have a physical presence in 2022, they will be able to have a digital exhibit as well. The show's digital platform will remain online for two to three months and help broaden the global reach of the show.

Foster said the show floor will have wider aisles and more space between booths to allow for more social distancing. It will benefit from an extra newly built west hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center that connects to the rest of the center through two one-way 0.8-mile (1.3 km)tunnels built by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company.

Visitors will be shuttled through in Tesla cars - with drivers - according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The tunnel loop will debut in June at the World of Concrete show, it said.

The tech show will be open to the media from Jan. 3 and to all other attendees from Jan. 5-8.

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