Fira de Barcelona has a long history dating back to the large exhibitions of 1888 and 1929. Constituted officially in 1932, it has always been a reflection of the country's business activity and social changes, a showcase for the innovations in the different industries and a driver for economic promotion and international exposure of companies.
Its development is closely linked to market demands and the evolution of society. The trade fairs held in the mid 20th century evolved towards specialisation and the current format of shows was established.
Today, it is one of the most important trade fair organisations in Europe with two venues -Montjuïc and Gran Via-, which have over 400,000 m2 of exhibition floor space and a it hosts over 120 trade shows, congresses and corporate events per year.
Fira combines commercial tradition with innovation, competitiveness and technological development to face the challenges of globalisation and anticipate the changes in the trade fair market with creativity and leadership.
The institution's documentary legacy can be found in its Archives, one of Europe's most important centres in terms of trade show and exhibition material. It is open to researchers and those who would like to know more about the history of Fira and Barcelona city.
1844 - 1877
1920 - 1936
First trade fairs and International Exhibition
Despite the fact that it was held at a time of world economic crisis, over 40 countries took part and it had a big impact on the city's development and modernisation (metropolitan railway, urbanisation of Plaza España and of Montjuïc mountain and the construction of monuments, such as the Palau Nacional, the Venetian towers, the Magic Fountain and the Poble Espanyol, among others).
1942 - 1978
Towards specialised shows
The sixties saw the birth of important events such as Hogarotel-Expohogar and the National Clothing Manufacturing Show (1961), the National Technical Textile Machinery Show (1962), the International Boat Show, the Spanish Textile Exchange, the Sonimag - Imaging Show and the Children's Festival (1963), the Cosmetic Chemical Week and Expo Química and Graphispack (1966). In 1966, the Motor Show became independent from the June Trade Fair.
1979 - 1999
New phase, new exhibition centre
2000 - 2009
From 2010 until today
New value proposal
Fira de Barcelona closed 2015 with revenue of over 148 million euros, the second best results in its history, thanks above all to the growth of its trade shows, the launch of new events and its international activities in both its own venues and in other countries. This took place in a context of an improved economic climate.
The institution hosted 68 trade shows and congresses as well as 50 corporate, business and sporting events. Within the trade shows, more than a thousand different activities took place.
Reflecting Fira's policy of innovation, the IoT Solutions World Congress was held for the first time, organized in conjunction with the Industrial Internet Consortium which promotes the use of the internet in industrial processes. It also recovered Barcelona Degusta, the gastronomic show aimed at the general public which has not been held since 2011.
Fira also continued to promote its presence in other countries to help companies find foreign markets. The institution jointly organized the Qatar Motor Show and the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition with local partner Elan, with which it won the tender to manage the new exhibition and conference centre. It was also involved in organizing the Smart City Expo in Kyoto and Montreal, and Alimentaria in Lisbon and Mexico, and signed agreements with the Cuban state company Palco to organize a new portfolio of trade fairs, as well as rolling out consultancy services in Asia and Africa.
In October, the report on Fira's economic and social impact was presented, produced in collaboration with the ESADE business school, which rated its economic impact at more than 2,600 million euros per year, as well as generating some 40,500 jobs and creating public and social value in areas such as business development, public spaces, metropolitan centrality, social cohesion, positioning and identity, and knowledge and innovation.