Fira de Barcelona will close this year with losses of about 10 million euros (ebitda) after invoicing 60 million euros. Despite the general economic recovery, the on-site fair activity has not been reestablished during 2021 and the institution has focused more on the objective of being an economic engine than on taking care of its operating account. The president of the Fira and mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has valued in the presentation of the annual results the role of adaptation of the organization to a context marked by the pandemic, maintaining the capacity of the Fair in its ability to help all sectors to recover activity. Along these lines, Fira de Barcelona plans to invoice 170 million euros next year, of which 29 will come from the sum of the activity of the Barcelona Convention and Congress Center (CCIB), whose management was assumed by the Fair in November. The Fira’s relevance is clearly reflected in an economic impact estimated at about 4.71 billion annually, 35,000 jobs and 971 million in tax revenue, according to UAB calculations.
The fairs organized during 2021 have been fewer and of a smaller dimension. They have had fewer participants, but the Fira management considers that they have been of great use to companies and the productive sectors. For the president of the Fira’s board of directors, Pau Relat, on Wednesday vindicated the role of the Fira as a world benchmark in the sector in a more difficult year than expected.
The activity was concentrated in the second part of the year since what was planned for the first semester had to be postponed. The general director of Fira de Barcelona, Agustí Serrallonga, has specified that “given the exceptional nature of the moment, these results are incomparable with those of previous years”. However, the CEO has stressed that “the strength and solvency of Fira reaffirm this commitment to recover activity, contribute to the reactivation of the different productive sectors and prepare us more strongly for next year”.
In total, more than fifty events have taken place at the Montjuic and Gran Via venues, including ISE, MWC Barcelona, 4YFN, Automobile, Expoquimia, Smart City Expo, Tomorrow Mobility, Puzzle X, Piscina & Wellness Barcelona. Boat Show, BforPlanet, Gastronomic Forum Barcelona, Bizbarcelona, Saló de l’Ocupació, Caravaning, Manga Barcelona, E-Show or Ibtm World. Regarding the activity carried out abroad, also very affected by the effects of the pandemic, is the co-organization of Smart City Latam in Mérida (Mexico) and Smart City Expo in Shanghai, and Expo ANTAD & Alimentaria México, as well as the co-management of two fairgrounds in China.
At the expense of the evolution of the pandemic and the progressive normalization of the fair calendar, the institution is already working with its sights set on 2022, the year in which it is scheduled to hold some 80 events and various national and international events, in addition to the activity in other countries. In some cases, the digital proposal will be added to the face-to-face format, in which the established prevention measures will be applied, in order to expand its international projection and impact.
Despite the uncertainties due to the pandemic, the Fira management reiterates that the calendar set for this year is being maintained, in which the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona stands out, the largest international fair of the mobile communications ecosystem, organized by GSMA, which will take place at the end of February; ISE, the world’s most important show for the audiovisual industry, which has held a reduced edition in Barcelona for the first time this year, after being organized so far in Amsterdam; o Alimentaria & Hostelco, which brings together one of the largest offers in the agri-food industry in Europe and plans to hold a major event in May after having to postpone the edition scheduled for 2021. In addition, Fira also prepares other relevant professional shows in the field of food such as Barcelona Wine Week and Gastronomic Forum Barcelona, as well as other important industrial sectors such as packaging and graphic printing with Hispack and Graphispag; Smart City Expo World Congress, a leading event in smart urban solutions; and I0T Solutions World Congress dedicated to transformative technologies in the industry. In 2022 it is also contemplated the celebration of other reference fairs of the institution such as Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, Saló de l’Ensenyament y Futura, Salón Náutico, Liber, Bizbarcelona, Saló de l’Ocupació or B-Travel.
The calendar also includes outstanding events organized by other operators such as Seafood Expo Global / Seafood Processing Global, the most important on seafood that until now took place in Brussels; the European Congress of Cardiology (ESC Congress), one of the most important in the world in its specialty, as well as the European meetings of Respiratory Medicine (ERS International Congress) and Education (EAIE); Ibtm World (business tourism); VM World (TIC), without forgetting other events such as Sónar, Comic Barcelona, Manga Barcelona or SIL, among others.