More international business
Fira de Barcelona has reinforced its international business department, placing emphasis on its experience, organizational capacity and technological sophistication as it seeks to transform itself into a global events organizer. It is not just a question of capturing international events, but of operating wherever there are business opportunities as well as offering support to domestic companies that want to expand abroad.
According to Ricard Zapatero, director of our International Business Division, there are currently four main areas of activity which will see major changes in 2016:
1. Salons and Congresses in the DECC of Qatar
Fira de Barcelona and the ELAN Group of Qatar have created a joint venture, a company called VPM (Venue Pro Management) which will run the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) after winning an international competition organized by the Qatar Tourism Authority. This centre, with 47,000 m2 of floor space, 30,000 of which is exhibition space, is already being extended with another 20,000 metres.
VPM promotes Doha as a top-flight destination for meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions. On the other hand, the joint venture Fira Qatar has also been set up to organize some of the salons and congresses which will use the new installations, and to ensure the highest standards.
There will be new editions of the Qatar Motor Show and the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition in 2016, both of which were supported by Fira de Barcelona in earlier editions, and there will be completely new fairs such as Baby and Kids (March), Doha Beauty Show (April), World of Luxury (October) and Multimedia Qatar (November).
2. New times for Cuba
Cuba is making significant steps towards opening up (as shown by the restoration of relations with the United States), and has emerged as a potential market.
In this context, Fira de Barcelona signed an agreement with the Government of Cuba, through the Palco national business group which runs the two main trade fair sites in the country, -Expo Cuba and Pabexpo- and the Palacio de Congresos in Havana, to plan and organize a new portfolio of specialised trade fairs.
The project designed by Fira has resulted in the proposal to host an international tourism and hostelry fair in May 2016, a food fair in July and an international fair on public safety, fire prevention, emergencies and workplace safety in September. Then there is a trade fair for containers, packaging and the graphic arts set for January 2017. The experience acquired by Fira de Barcelona in all these sectors will ensure suitable orientation and organization.
3. The world’s smart cities
Smart City Expo World Congress has emerged as the foremost international reference on smart cities, and has aroused interest around the world.
So far there have been regional editions of Smart City in Bogotá in 2013, Kyoto in 2014 and 2015 and Montreal, also during the present year.
The Japanese event will be held for the third consecutive year in 2016 and an edition will be held for the first time in Puebla, a World Heritage City and the fourth largest in Mexico, with over 2,600 listed buildings and a metropolitan area that is home to three million people.
The upcoming work schedule of the International Business Department contains contacts and initial agreements for editions of Smart City Expo to be held in other cities in Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States.
4. Consultancy services
The consultancy services offered by Fira de Barcelona to the operators of exhibition and conference centres will enable them to create a portfolio of products and requirements in terms of infrastructures, architecture, spatial arrangements and technology, without overlooking central issues like finance, organizational and business models.
At present, besides the projects which have now been established, (Qatar and Havana), Fira is also studying a proposal for a convention and exhibition centre in Ulan Bator, in Mongolia, with more projects to come in Africa and Latin America.
Then there is the expansion of the Alimentaria food fair abroad, with editions being held in Lisbon and Mexico, organized in collaboration with Alimentaria Exhibitions, which is owned by Fira de Barcelona.