EIBTM, a happy anniversary for business tourism
Business tourism is celebrating in Barcelona. The EIBTM show, the world’s most important event for professionals in the sector, is celebrating its 25th birthday. This is happening at a difficult time due to the recession, and which involves well-considered decisions which consider costs and potential for success, and which analyze tastes and trends.
EIBTM, organized by Reed Travel Exhibition, arrived in Barcelona in 2004 after a lengthy selection process that also involved Madrid, Lisbon, Vienna and Geneva, where the event was held originally. The first event in Barcelona, in the Gran Via area, was inaugurated by King Juan Carlos and featured by 115 trade associations and 2,000 direct and represented companies.
Growth in Barcelona
At Fira de Barcelona the event has expanded progressively – it has come of age – and in 2011 one of its most successful editions took place, when it featured more than 3,100 destinations in 90 countries, with travel agents, tour operators, conference and convention centres, hotel chains, service companies and organizers of international events worldwide.
The event was visited by some 15,200 buyers, many of whom are major decision makers in terms of where and how major professional events, meetings and conferences, seminars and conventions will be held, including the importance of incentives trips, a journey for pleasure which is a reward for success in business or a good personal performance. 60,000 business meetings took place in three days.
The fact that EIBTM takes place at Fira undoubtedly contributes to the promotion of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain as a business tourism destination, for a sector with greater purchasing power than normal and a calendar that also complements major mass tourism.
Business and congress tourism is one of the most sought-after within the sector due to its high level of quality: ‘business’ tourists usually stay two nights, 93.24% stay in four- and five-star hotels, and they spend more than 294 euros a day on accommodation, dining, entertainment and shopping. In Spain, business tourism accounts for 34.9% of the sector’s turnover.
Thanks to the good relationship between EIBTM and Barcelona, the agreement to hold the event at Fira, which was signed in 2004, was initially due to expire in 2008 but was extended to 2013, and it has again been agreed that the event should take place in Barcelona until at least 2016.
More than 15,200 professionals from 150 countries are expected to attend the 2012 event, which is taking place from 27 to 29 November. The EIBTM Forum is shaping up as the highlight of the event – it will be something like the birthday cake for an event that is committed to training, technology, sustainability, information and the right analysis of the market situation and trends, including social and environmental responsibility, interactive activities, new experiences and direct business contacts.
Barcelona, at the summit
Barcelona holds one of the leading international positions in the business tourism sector, according to data provided by the ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association.
In specific terms, the city of Barcelona is in third place with 150 major conferences, after Vienna, which ranks first with 181, and Paris, which is in second place with 174. Barcelona is followed by Berlin, Singapore and Madrid.
Fira de Barcelona hosts some of the largest business conferences and meetings that take place in the city and in Europe at its venues in the Barcelona Convention Centre in the Montjuïc area, and the Convention Centre in Gran Via.