Fira de Barcelona, the public-private consortium that manages the two fairgrounds in the Catalan capital and the convention center located in the Forum, faces 2024 with good prospects and with a very clear objective: to once again pulverize the maximums with which it will close the fiscal year 2023.
This year, the consortium in which Barcelona City Council, the Generalitat and the Chamber of Commerce participate will close with revenues of 250.2 million euros, 17.9% more, and well above the 215 million of 2019 , the year before the outbreak of Covid-19. In 2024, its goal is to break a new record, and overcome the barrier of 260 million euros.
It will do so in a year marked by intense activity in the Catalan capital and also internationally, where it will organize fairs in eleven countries. To the management of two venues in China, in the cities of Nanchang and Xuzhou, and to the organization of already consolidated conferences, new events will be added, and the most important is Alimentaria, the show dedicated to the agri-food industry, which will land in the giant Asian in 2024.
Other news are the celebration in Brazil of IoT Solutions, dedicated to the Internet of Things. This is a contest that in 2022 was organized at the Gran Via fairgrounds next to the ISE exhibition, dedicated to audiovisuals, and this year it was decided that it would be free, due to the growing importance of connectivity.
In Mexico, there will also be its own edition of Tomorrow.Mobility, focused on innovative and sustainable solutions for urban mobility. Another global event will be the Food Cuba show.
To all these events, a new edition of its most internationalized congress will be added, the Smart City Expo, in Saudi Arabia. It will join the editions of China, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and the United States. The latter will take place for the first time in New York, which is a milestone for the Fair. This year, the show dedicated to technology applied to urban management had to be held in the Big Apple at the beginning of autumn, but the flooding it suffered forced this event to be postponed.
In addition to this event in the United States, 2023 has closed with the organization of seven fairs in different countries: Smart City Expo in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, China and Qatar, as well as HostelCuba.
Regarding activity in the Catalan capital, the prospects for 2024 are good in terms of activity, turnover and future projects. Among the fairs and conferences planned, those dedicated to technology, food, industry and health stand out.
Among the events, which according to estimates, will bring together more delegates, are Alimentaria, a biannual exhibition dedicated to food and beverages, and which for the third consecutive time will coincide with Hostelco, dedicated to equipment for restaurants, hotels and communities. Both will be held at the Gran Via venue between March 18 and 21.
Another of the great global levers is the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which has been held in the Catalan capital since 2006 and has allowed the city to witness the transformation that mobile telephony has been experiencing since then. Last year, the organizer, GSMA, agreed that Barcelona would remain its headquarters until 2030 and next year, it will take place between February 26 and 29.
One of the areas in which the Catalan capital has managed to consolidate itself is that of medical congresses. In 2024, the meetings of the European societies for medical oncology, microbiology and infectious diseases, and cataract and refractive surgery will take place, as well as the international meetings for international cancer and gynecological cancer, among others.
Other notable events are the Seafood Expo Global -seafood products-, ISE, ITBM World -business tourism- and Hispack -packaging-. All of them will join corporate events, such as a McDonald's convention that will bring together its managers from around the world, and the United Nations world conference, dedicated to the protection of the oceans. Multinational technology meetings such as VMware, Gartner, SAP, HP, Nutanix and IBM will also hold meetings.
Looking ahead to 2025, it has been possible to "attract all the large events that had to change venue" in 2023, in the words of the president of the entity's board of directors, Pau Relat.
These are ICE -casinos-, Vitafoods Europe -food supplements- and Labelexpo Europe -labels and packaging- and which until then were held in London, Geneva and Brussels respectively, and are considered the benchmark events in their respective sectors.
According to the general director of Fira, Constantí Serrallonga, in all these transfers, location has been key. "The trade fair organizers have realized that choosing Barcelona as their venue ends up driving their growth, something that the MWC and the ICE have already proven," the manager explained last Friday at a press conference.
The reinforcement of the activity will coincide with the expansion of the Gran Via venue, where a total of 320 million euros will be invested until the end of 2026, and the renovation of the Montjuïc pavilions, which will turn one hundred years old in 2029.