On April 7, 2016, the Barcelona Convention Bureau met for a general assembly meeting where they celebrated a productive 2015: last year, the organisation managed 2,268 meetings and achieved a positive financial balance. These meetings included congresses, conferences, seminars, and conventions, among others, and represent an increase of 15.2% from 2014. On top of that, nearly 590,000 delegates came to Barcelona to attend one of these events – 1.7% more people than in 2014. These increases served to boost Barcelona’s tourism-based revenue stream, leading to a monetary gain of 520 million euros in 2015 alone.
The vast majority of these attendees were international visitors, marking the city’s growing popularity on a global scale. As tourism is one of Spain’s primary industries, maximising Barcelona’s potential as a centre for international business combines the opportunities that arise from both enterprises, and makes the country more competitive in a global economy. Although 485,594 of these attendees were international, 93,929 were Spanish – a 3% increase from 2014. In a country struck by a devastating financial crisis, this suggests both a brighter outlook for Spanish businesses and for the economy as a whole.
The gains haven’t stopped with a strengthened reputation. In 2015, Spain was ranked number one in a list detailing which countries had organised the most conferences. This puts Spain ahead of the UK, the United States, France, and Germany. The sectors of these meetings vary, as well, ranging in topic from textiles to academics. Of these, the medical sector was the strongest across the board, with 32.8% of all congresses, 50.4% of all seminars, and 24.3% of all conventions relating to the medical field. Of course, many of these meetings cannot be accomplished in a single day, and the 155.1% increase in overnight stays is good news for Barcelona’s hotels, restaurants, and tourist sites.
The success is largely owed to Barcelona Convention Bureau’s tourism program, and the gains have been swift. All of the conferences and events hosted in the city have led to a monetary gain of 520 million euros, a gain that will surely do the city a lot of good in the coming year. Most important, perhaps, is the idea that Barcelona has finally been seen as it should be: a city with much to offer the international business community.