In the Face of Political Unrest, It’s Business as Usual

This Just In

All eyes are on Spain to see what’s next for the Catalonian independence movement. While the region of four provinces — Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona — is dealing with the uncertainty of direct rule from the Spanish government, imprisoned former regional ministers, and a special election on Dec. 21, those challenges will not impact ibtm world. One of the key buying events on the convention industry’s calendar, Reed Exhibition’s event is expected to bring more than 15,500 attendees to Barcelona, Nov. 28–30.

“We very much value our long-standing, extremely strong working relationships with all of our partners in Barcelona,” Kerry Prince, portfolio director of ibtm world, told PCMA via email. “We are in constant contact with them, as well as the national authorities, in the run-up to the event, working together to ensure that we can identify any potential risks of disruption, assess these, and together develop any plans necessary to ensure a safe and successful show. The safety and security of our staff, partners, and attendees is very much our priority and we are all looking forward to welcoming everyone to Barcelona for our 30th-anniversary event.”

Christoph Tessmar, managing director of the Barcelona Convention Bureau, told PCMA that other events have been proceeding without any hiccups. “Here in Barcelona, everything is calm and we are going about our daily life without any disruptions,” Tessmar said. “This applies to events taking place in the city. For example, we hosted the UEGW Congress [United European Gastroenterology Week, Oct. 28 – Nov. 1] with almost 15,000 attendees. The event took place at the same venue as ibtm world and everything ran very smoothly.

Currently, no more demonstrations are scheduled, and the most recent ones had no impact on transportation in the city. The airport and hotels weren’t affected during the political crisis and it remains business as usual.”

Prince added that Reed is prepared for any scenario. “Given our global reach as a company,” she said, “Reed Exhibitions has significant and recent experience of successfully hosting events against a range of geopolitical scenarios.”

Bringing a Positive Impact to Barcelona

While ibtm world participants may not know whether Spain will remain united, it’s clear that they will leave behind a legacy in the area, regardless. The show has aligned its mission to honor the United Nations’ International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

“The most recent estimate of the positive economic impact of ibtm world on Barcelona places it as being in the region of €60 million,” Prince said. “We are also committed to working towards and supporting a more sustainable industry, to help minimize our impact on the destinations of our events. From our partners who deliver zero food waste, recycling and green energy, amongst other initiatives, to ensuring access for all and offering relevant education sessions, we believe that sustainability is core to how we do business, whether that be in Catalonia or elsewhere.”

David McMillin of PCMA wrote this article.

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