Fira de Barcelona foresees a year 2022 of great activity in its venues with the celebration of important international events such as Alimentaria, MWC Barcelona, ISE or Seafood, among others. The institution reaffirms its role as an economic and social driving force, something that it has already demonstrated during this 2021 in which, rather than profitability, it has prioritised the holding of trade fairs -albeit on a smaller scale- and set its sights on the next financial year, with the caution inherent in a situation that is still pandemic.
This plan was covered today at the meeting of Fira’s General Council, chaired by Ada Colau, the Mayoress of Barcelona, and attended by its Vice-Presidents, Roger Torrent, Minister of Business and Labour of the Generalitat, and Mònica Roca, President of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. Pau Relat, Chairman of the institution’s Board of Directors, and Constantí Serrallonga, General Manager, have also presented the economic results for 2021 with an estimated income of 60 million euros, thanks to the activity concentrated in the second part of the year, due to the impossibility of holding events during the first half of the year because of covid.
Pau Relat stated that “despite the fluctuating pandemic situation, we look to 2022 with optimism and caution at the same time, confident that we will be able to hold a large number of events planned —applying the relevant prevention measures—with the aim of contributing to the much-needed reactivation of the country’s industrial and social fabric”. In this sense, he also expressed “the importance of the progressive standardisation of international mobility and of the trade fair sector”. Relat also wanted to highlight, in line with Fira’s social commitment, the work of the large vaccination point that has been installed for months at Montjuïc venue.
Activity as a priority
For his part, Constantí Serrallonga, the General Manager, remarked that given the persistence of covid “it has been a more difficult year than was initially expected for Fira, for the entire trade fair sector, for the productive fabric and for society as a whole, which has had an impact on the results of many companies.” However, he stressed that despite the adverse context “Fira has opted to maintain as much activity as possible at the fairgrounds in order to contribute to the economic recovery, support other organisers and be prepared to face 2022 in the best conditions, both from an operational and logistical point of view and in terms of personnel.”
Fira de Barcelona expects to close the year with revenue of 60 million euros and a negative ebitda close to 10 million euros, which is explained by the effort made to organise events, even at the cost of profitability, as they are smaller in size and volume of participants but of great use to companies and productive sectors. Moreover, this activity has been concentrated in the second half of the year, since what was planned for the first half of the year had to be postponed. Serrallonga pointed out that “given the exceptional nature of the moment, these results are incomparable with those of previous years”.
In addition to these events, there are more than 50 congresses and events scheduled at the Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB for its Spanish acronym), whose management was taken over by Fira last November and which allows the institution to gain competitiveness, strengthen its international positioning and carry out comprehensive management of the city’s three fairgrounds.
The events include mainly medical congresses such as the ESMO World Congress (which brings together experts in gastrointestinal cancer), CIRSE (on cardiovascular medicine), the International Society of Paediatric Oncology Congress, the European Association of Nuclear Medicine Congress, as well as various technological, corporate and cultural events such as the Java BCN Conference and CineEurope 2022.
Commitment to society and sustainable development
Throughout 2021, Fira de Barcelona has continued its social commitment by collaborating with institutions and organisations to contribute to the fight against the pandemic. Proof of this is the vaccination point installed in palace 4 of Montjuïc venue, one of the largest in Catalonia belonging to the Department of Health. Indeed, Fira’s social work during the pandemic and its anti-Covid protocol, developed in collaboration with Hospital Clínic on its return to activity, earned Fira de Barcelona the UFI Operations & Services Award 2021 from the UFI, the world association of trade fair operators.
In 2021, the institution also reinforced its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): it has obtained the ISO 14001 certification, the most internationally recognised standard in environmental management, it has launched the new Tomorrow Mobility event on sustainable urban mobility, and it has developed various actions within the framework of the trade fairs, such as carpet recycling and the Towards Zero Waste programme, among other initiatives.
This commitment has led it to adhere to the Joints Meetings Industry Council’s (JMIC) “Net Zero Carbon Events” initiative, which aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.