The Institution

Our history

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 sqm of exhibition floor space and it hosts over 150 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.

a_vista-general-exposicion-1888

1844 – 1877

Throughout the 19th century, the economic strength of Barcelona and Catalonia was reflected in various trade fairs, such as the General Exhibition of Barcelona (1844), Exhibition of Industry, Arts and Trades (1860), General Catalan Exhibition (1871) and Exhibition of Catalan Products (1877).

1888

Nonetheless, the Universal Exhibition of 1888 in Ciudadela Park had a very special significance for Barcelona’s international exposure, its emergence as a metropolis and the start of modern trade fair activity. The Exhibition occupied 450,000 m2 and was visited by 2.5 million people during a five-month period.

fira_barcelona_hsitoria_palau1929

1920-1923

In 1920, the first trade fair was held in the old exhibition centre in Ciudadela Park, thanks to a joint initiative of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, the Barcelona City Council, the Barcelona Diputació and the Mancomunitat of Catalonia. Nonetheless, important events, such as the International Motor Show of 1919, had already been held in previous years.

The 1920 trade fair was the embryo of the future Fashion Show. In 1923, the first International Furniture and Decoration Exhibition and the Building Technique Exhibition, considered predecessors of Construmat, were held.

 

1929

The old aspiration of holding a major electrical industry show materialised with the International Exhibition of Barcelona of 1929.

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).

1932-1935

Three years later, in 1932, Fira Internacional de Barcelona was officially constituted and declared for public use by the republican Generalitat.

Traditional annual industry and service events were suspended in July because of the Spanish Civil War. During the last fair before the conflict, a television set was exhibited for the first time in Spain.

fira_barcelona_fira_historia_fira-de-mostres-1956
1942

In 1942, Barcelona resumed trade fair activity in a very difficult economic and political climate. Nonetheless, the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce saw it as an opportunity to reactivate the damaged local economy and open up a showcase to the world.

The Trade Fair held in June was, for many years, an genuine social event in Barcelona, since it showcased new products and innovative ways of understanding trade, transport, domestic life and work organisation. For the first time, elements as diverse as Coca-Cola, the Seat 600, the modern supermarket concept and computers were shown to the public.
Very soon, specialised areas were created which became monographic shows in the following years. In tune with liberalisation, the trend for specialisation became unstoppable.

1954-1965

In 1954, the first Packing and Packaging Show was held and, in 1960, the first Travel, Sport and Tourism Show was created.

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.

1972-1978

In 1972, the first edition of Hispack, packing and packaging show was held and, two years later, with the first knitwear show, Fira de Barcelona’s portfolio had a total of twenty monographic shows.

In subsequent years, the trade fair calendar incorporated Anticuarios and Expo Avícola (1975), Alimentaria, major food and beverage industry show which was to become a world benchmark (1976), and Hostelco, hotel and catering show (1977).

fira_barcelona_historia_jjoo.1
1979

In 1979, the trade fair institution’s government organs adapted to the new reality of democratic city councils. At the same time and in line with new social and business needs, new shows were created.

The same year saw the creation of Construmat and Expominer and, in successive years, the Second Hand Vehicle Show (1980), Comic Fair (1981), Caravaning (1989), Liber (1982), Auto Retro (1983), Mediterranean Show (regarded as a predecessor of the Tourism Show), Education Show 1990 and Sonimagfoto (1991).

1992
In 1992, Fira de Barcelona’s facilities were turned into the centre of operations of the Olympic Games. The same year as the Olympics, Noviaespaña and the Pasarela Gaudí Novias were launched..
1991

In 1991, the last traditional general Trade Fair of June was held to be replaced by larger, professional specialised shows.

1993-1999

In 1993, various measures were adopted to create new exhibition spaces and to improve existing ones. Fira 2000 S.A., commissioned to build the future Gran Via venue, was created, and an agreement was reached to remodel the Congress Centre. The first phase of the Gran Via venue was inaugurated in 1995.

During the last decade of this period, Fira de Barcelona underwent a complex situation, partly due to competition from other Spanish exhibition centres, the new phenomenon of globalisation and the lack of institutional consensus about the trade fair.

fira_barcelona_historia_01
2000
2000 saw the re-foundation of Fira de Barcelona with the incorporation of the Catalan Generalitat in its government organs, in addition to the Barcelona City Council and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, and the adoption of a management system based on company participation through the Governing Board and a professional and independent management. Fira renewed its vocation to provide a platform of activity and economic promotion for companies and their international exposure and a generator of wealth for Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain.
2004-2006

In 2004, the institution hosted the first Barcelona edition of EIBTM, the world’s leading business travel show. Attracting large shows and international events was one of the priorities in Fira’s revised strategic plan for the 2006-2015 period.

As a result of this policy, Fira de Barcelona hosted the Mobile World Congress, global mobile phone event, in 2006, as well as the World and European Cardiology Congresses (2006, 2009), Carbon Expo (2009), ITMA (2011) and the urban and contemporary fashion show, Bread&Butter (2005) which, after four years and eight shows, returned to its city of origin, Berlin, in January 2009.

2001-2003

2001 saw the approval of the 2001-2010 Strategic Plan centred on improving trade fair venues, finalising the Gran Via venue, increasing services, international exposure, investing in new technologies and utilising synergies with the city of Barcelona.

One year later, Alimentaria Exhibitions, joint venture between Fira de Barcelona and British multinational Reed Exhibitions was created to ensure the continuity of Alimentaria, one of the world’s most important food and beverage fairs, in Barcelona, as well as Barcelona Tecnologías de la Alimentación (Barcelona Food and Beverage Technologies), Bta.

In 2003, the Japanese architect Toyo Ito won the international tender for the design of the Gran Via venue, its surroundings and towers. Toyo Ito’s design is based on organic, natural, light shapes and opts for rational use of energy and sustainability.

The first edition of Globalgeo, show specialising in geoinformation, an activity with a great future potential, was held that same year..

2007-2009

2007 saw the official inauguration of the Gran Via venue with an exhibition floor space of 200,000 m2. Together with Montjuïc, Fira then had 365,000 m2, one of Europe’s largest exhibition areas.

The following year, 2008, the photovoltaic plant on the rooftop of the Gran Via venue was inaugurated. It was the sixth largest rooftop solar operation in the world and one of the biggest in Spain. It is an example of Fira’s commitment to sustainability and the environment.

Between 2008 and 2009 new shows linked to emerging sectors appeared: BcnRail (railway industry), HiT/Bizbarcelona (innovation and entrepreneurship) and The Brandery (urban and contemporary fashion), among others.

fira_barcelona_historia_2000
2010

Fira again revised its strategic plan, through the New Value Proposal, which established the guidelines to anticipate the future demands of the market based on reinforcing the positioning of its shows, strengthening innovation and know-how and giving a new boost to international business.

2012

The appearance of new shows continued in 2012 with MIHealth Forum, created to be a benchmark in innovation, sustainability and management of health care and Seafood Barcelona, a replica of the most important seafood fair in the world, the European Seafood Exposition, based in Brussels.

Following its international business strategy, Fira worked and continues to work on promoting the presence of international exhibitors, organisers and visitors and attracting large European and world events. It is also committed to helping Spanish companies penetrate new markets, through participation in events abroad, as well as offering services, technology and advice to other organisers and exhibition centres.

As a result, in 2012, various Barcelona shows were present in events in Shanghai (Hostelco), Singapore (The Brandery), Dubai (Swimming Pool Show) and Recife (Construmat). An agreement was also signed to advise the Montreal fair (Quebec, Canada).

At the end of this year, Fira de Barcelona became the only shareholder of Alimentaria Exhibitions, after acquiring Reed Exhibitions 50% share.

2014

In 2014, Fira de Barcelona achieved the best results in its history with a turnover of more than 150 million euros.

The excellent positioning of its trade shows, the diversification of its activities, innovation, the organization of major congresses, corporate events and international medical and technology events and its international presence all enabled the corporation to achieve these results and position itself even further as an event organizer of global standing.

As well as its regular portfolio of trade shows, Fira de Barcelona hosted the following events for the first time: Denim by Première Vision, the jeans fashion event from Paris; Handmade, targeting craft enthusiasts, and XD Young Fest, the multimedia leisure and experiences event aimed at young people which was held at the same time as the Children’s Festival.

Internationally, the Fira teamed up with local partners to organize the International Motor Show and Jewellery and Watches in Qatar, the Smart City Expo in Kyoto and Alimentaria in Lisbon and Mexico, and also managed Construmat’s participation in Ficons (Recife, Brazil). It also signed agreements to provide consultancy service on trade fair management in various countries such as Canada, Chile and Mongolia.

2016

Fira closed the year with the highest volume of business (165 million euros) in its history, surpassing the 2014 figures as a consequence of its intense level of activity: 65 trade shows and congresses in its own venues and nine abroad, along with 50 corporate, marketing and sports-related events reaching an overall total of 120.

Especially worthy of mention are the events related to technology and Industry 4.0. In(3D)ustry, based on Additive Manufacturing, was held for the first time and was added to the second edition of the Internet of Things Solutions World Congress (Iots). The Smart City Expo World Congress coincided with the launch of Iwater (integrated water cycle), Circular Economy (waste reuse) and the roving event European Utility Week, putting the Gran Via venue at the very heart of sustainability and innovation.

Also notable was the first edition of Barcelona Games World (video games), organised in conjunction with the Spanish Association of Video Games (AEVI), as well as the re-emergence of the show Motoh! dedicated to a sector with a huge following in Barcelona and Catalonia.

 

2011

Expansion of the Gran Via venue concludes with the addition of two new pavilions giving an extra 40,000 m2 of exhibition floor space to reach the current total of over 400,000 m2.

In September, the largest textile machinery and technology fair in the world, ITMA, was held, occupying the entire recently completed Gran Via venue for the first time.

In 2011, Fira announced that Barcelona had been chosen as Mobile World Capital for the 2012-2018 period, having won the international contest held by the GSM Association, beating Milan, Munich and Paris.

Two highly specialised shows were also created the same year: Smart City Expo World Congress and FM&BS, Facility Management and Business Services World Summit (outsourcing services).

2013

In 2013, Fira reinforced its trade fair leadership in Spain, its role as economic driver and its benchmark position in Europe.

The institution incorporated new shows, such as Pharmaprocess, dedicated to processes in the pharmaceutical institute and Body Life Bcn, on the fitness sector. The list of itinerant events includes EVS, the world’s leading electric vehicle event, held for the first time in Spain.

Worthy of note is the importance of medical and technological congresses held in the Montjuïc and Gran Via Exhibition Centres with over 100,000 highly qualified attendees.

The institution enhanced its international profile by holding and attracting events with a high level of foreign exhibitors and visitors and also organising Fira de Barcelona shows in various cities. The list includes Smart City Expo in Bogotá.

2015

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.

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.

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.

FiraBarcelona_historia_2017
2017

Fira Barcelona’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021 came into effect, emphasising profitable growth, trade fair infrastructures and economic impact and social commitment.

For the second year running, Fira has recorded profits at record levels, this time of more than €187 million. Fira staged 141 events, including Barcelona Industry Week, a new platform focusing on Industry 4.0 and comprising fairs such as In(3D)ustry, IoT Solutions World, Expoquimia, Eurosurfas and Equiplast and other events related to the chemical sector.

Several events were added to Fira’s portfolio: Smart Mobility World Congress, Smart Island World Congress, held for the first time in Majorca, Innovate4Climate, organised in conjunction with the World Bank, Healthio (innovation in health) and Oralth BCN (oral health). The traditional Children’s Festival, in its 54th year, was brought right up-to-date with the interests of today’s boys and girls: as the City of Dreams it focused on discovering professional trades and activities.

Fira co-organized eleven fairs abroad relating to smart cities, catering, containers and packaging, the automotive sector, small and medium-sized enterprises and food. In Mexico, Fira Barcelona Mexico was set up in partnership with the Mercados Mexicanos Group in order to run fairs specialising in smart cities, education, the car industry, etc., joining Fira Qatar which was created in 2015 as a joint venture with the Elan Group in Doha to run the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center. 23 trade shows and more than 70 events were held in 2017.

Among other initiatives, in 2017 Fira provided consultancy services for the start-up of the new Exhibition and Congress Centre in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia and the headquarters of the African Union.

2018

For the first time, the institution exceeded the threshold of 200 million euros in revenue (213.7), confirming its growth and leadership.

153 trade fairs, congresses and corporate events were held, including 12 trade fairs co-organised abroad. Highlights include the joint holding of the Alimentaria and Hostelco trade fairs, as well as the second edition of the Barcelona Industry Week and Smart City Expo World Congress, the latter a benchmark for large city solutions.

In addition to the Mobile World Congress (MWC), a world benchmark in mobile communications, among the major events organised by other operators, Gastech, the world´s biggest gas industry event, the World Ophthalmology Congress and the first corporate meeting in Barcelona of the company Cisco Systems stood out.

From an institutional point of view, 2018 was characterised, to a large extent, by the strategic decision to remodel and enlarge the fairgrounds, taken during the General Council held at the end of the year, which appointed Pau Relat as Fira’s new president of the Governing Board. The Board members were also partly renewed.

The strategic enclosure plan, which has the support of the institutions, should allow for the enlargement of the Gran Vía venue by 60,000 m2 by 2024, as well as a major remodelling of the Montjuïc venue with an eye towards 2029, the centenary of the 1929 International Exposition.

In addition, Barcelona City Council approved the concession to Fira for a period of 25 years, starting in November 2021, of the management of the Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB). This guarantees the development of a comprehensive strategy for trade fairs and congresses in the city.

In 2018, Fira began reviewing its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, taking on the commitment to actively support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDS), within the framework of Agenda 2030.

Another very important event during the year was the announcement of the annual Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) trade fair, the world’s most important event for audio and video systems, at the Gran Vía venue, starting in February 2021.

a_vista-general-exposicion-1888

1844 – 1877

Throughout the 19th century, the economic strength of Barcelona and Catalonia was reflected in various trade fairs, such as the General Exhibition of Barcelona (1844), Exhibition of Industry, Arts and Trades (1860), General Catalan Exhibition (1871) and Exhibition of Catalan Products (1877).

1888

Nonetheless, the Universal Exhibition of 1888 in Ciudadela Park had a very special significance for Barcelona’s international exposure, its emergence as a metropolis and the start of modern trade fair activity. The Exhibition occupied 450,000 m2 and was visited by 2.5 million people during a five-month period.

fira_barcelona_hsitoria_palau1929

1920-1923

In 1920, the first trade fair was held in the old exhibition centre in Ciudadela Park, thanks to a joint initiative of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, the Barcelona City Council, the Barcelona Diputació and the Mancomunitat of Catalonia. Nonetheless, important events, such as the International Motor Show of 1919, had already been held in previous years.

The 1920 trade fair was the embryo of the future Fashion Show. In 1923, the first International Furniture and Decoration Exhibition and the Building Technique Exhibition, considered predecessors of Construmat, were held.

 

1929

The old aspiration of holding a major electrical industry show materialised with the International Exhibition of Barcelona of 1929.

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).

1932-1935

Three years later, in 1932, Fira Internacional de Barcelona was officially constituted and declared for public use by the republican Generalitat.

Traditional annual industry and service events were suspended in July because of the Spanish Civil War. During the last fair before the conflict, a television set was exhibited for the first time in Spain.

fira_barcelona_fira_historia_fira-de-mostres-1956
1942

In 1942, Barcelona resumed trade fair activity in a very difficult economic and political climate. Nonetheless, the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce saw it as an opportunity to reactivate the damaged local economy and open up a showcase to the world.

The Trade Fair held in June was, for many years, an genuine social event in Barcelona, since it showcased new products and innovative ways of understanding trade, transport, domestic life and work organisation. For the first time, elements as diverse as Coca-Cola, the Seat 600, the modern supermarket concept and computers were shown to the public.
Very soon, specialised areas were created which became monographic shows in the following years. In tune with liberalisation, the trend for specialisation became unstoppable.

1954-1965

In 1954, the first Packing and Packaging Show was held and, in 1960, the first Travel, Sport and Tourism Show was created.

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.

1972-1978

In 1972, the first edition of Hispack, packing and packaging show was held and, two years later, with the first knitwear show, Fira de Barcelona’s portfolio had a total of twenty monographic shows.

In subsequent years, the trade fair calendar incorporated Anticuarios and Expo Avícola (1975), Alimentaria, major food and beverage industry show which was to become a world benchmark (1976), and Hostelco, hotel and catering show (1977).

fira_barcelona_historia_jjoo.1
1979

In 1979, the trade fair institution’s government organs adapted to the new reality of democratic city councils. At the same time and in line with new social and business needs, new shows were created.

The same year saw the creation of Construmat and Expominer and, in successive years, the Second Hand Vehicle Show (1980), Comic Fair (1981), Caravaning (1989), Liber (1982), Auto Retro (1983), Mediterranean Show (regarded as a predecessor of the Tourism Show), Education Show 1990 and Sonimagfoto (1991).

1992
In 1992, Fira de Barcelona’s facilities were turned into the centre of operations of the Olympic Games. The same year as the Olympics, Noviaespaña and the Pasarela Gaudí Novias were launched..
1991

In 1991, the last traditional general Trade Fair of June was held to be replaced by larger, professional specialised shows.

1993-1999

In 1993, various measures were adopted to create new exhibition spaces and to improve existing ones. Fira 2000 S.A., commissioned to build the future Gran Via venue, was created, and an agreement was reached to remodel the Congress Centre. The first phase of the Gran Via venue was inaugurated in 1995.

During the last decade of this period, Fira de Barcelona underwent a complex situation, partly due to competition from other Spanish exhibition centres, the new phenomenon of globalisation and the lack of institutional consensus about the trade fair.

fira_barcelona_historia_01
2000
2000 saw the re-foundation of Fira de Barcelona with the incorporation of the Catalan Generalitat in its government organs, in addition to the Barcelona City Council and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, and the adoption of a management system based on company participation through the Governing Board and a professional and independent management. Fira renewed its vocation to provide a platform of activity and economic promotion for companies and their international exposure and a generator of wealth for Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain.
2004-2006

In 2004, the institution hosted the first Barcelona edition of EIBTM, the world’s leading business travel show. Attracting large shows and international events was one of the priorities in Fira’s revised strategic plan for the 2006-2015 period.

As a result of this policy, Fira de Barcelona hosted the Mobile World Congress, global mobile phone event, in 2006, as well as the World and European Cardiology Congresses (2006, 2009), Carbon Expo (2009), ITMA (2011) and the urban and contemporary fashion show, Bread&Butter (2005) which, after four years and eight shows, returned to its city of origin, Berlin, in January 2009.

2001-2003

2001 saw the approval of the 2001-2010 Strategic Plan centred on improving trade fair venues, finalising the Gran Via venue, increasing services, international exposure, investing in new technologies and utilising synergies with the city of Barcelona.

One year later, Alimentaria Exhibitions, joint venture between Fira de Barcelona and British multinational Reed Exhibitions was created to ensure the continuity of Alimentaria, one of the world’s most important food and beverage fairs, in Barcelona, as well as Barcelona Tecnologías de la Alimentación (Barcelona Food and Beverage Technologies), Bta.

In 2003, the Japanese architect Toyo Ito won the international tender for the design of the Gran Via venue, its surroundings and towers. Toyo Ito’s design is based on organic, natural, light shapes and opts for rational use of energy and sustainability.

The first edition of Globalgeo, show specialising in geoinformation, an activity with a great future potential, was held that same year..

2007-2009

2007 saw the official inauguration of the Gran Via venue with an exhibition floor space of 200,000 m2. Together with Montjuïc, Fira then had 365,000 m2, one of Europe’s largest exhibition areas.

The following year, 2008, the photovoltaic plant on the rooftop of the Gran Via venue was inaugurated. It was the sixth largest rooftop solar operation in the world and one of the biggest in Spain. It is an example of Fira’s commitment to sustainability and the environment.

Between 2008 and 2009 new shows linked to emerging sectors appeared: BcnRail (railway industry), HiT/Bizbarcelona (innovation and entrepreneurship) and The Brandery (urban and contemporary fashion), among others.

fira_barcelona_historia_2000
2010

Fira again revised its strategic plan, through the New Value Proposal, which established the guidelines to anticipate the future demands of the market based on reinforcing the positioning of its shows, strengthening innovation and know-how and giving a new boost to international business.

2012

The appearance of new shows continued in 2012 with MIHealth Forum, created to be a benchmark in innovation, sustainability and management of health care and Seafood Barcelona, a replica of the most important seafood fair in the world, the European Seafood Exposition, based in Brussels.

Following its international business strategy, Fira worked and continues to work on promoting the presence of international exhibitors, organisers and visitors and attracting large European and world events. It is also committed to helping Spanish companies penetrate new markets, through participation in events abroad, as well as offering services, technology and advice to other organisers and exhibition centres.

As a result, in 2012, various Barcelona shows were present in events in Shanghai (Hostelco), Singapore (The Brandery), Dubai (Swimming Pool Show) and Recife (Construmat). An agreement was also signed to advise the Montreal fair (Quebec, Canada).

At the end of this year, Fira de Barcelona became the only shareholder of Alimentaria Exhibitions, after acquiring Reed Exhibitions 50% share.

2014

In 2014, Fira de Barcelona achieved the best results in its history with a turnover of more than 150 million euros.

The excellent positioning of its trade shows, the diversification of its activities, innovation, the organization of major congresses, corporate events and international medical and technology events and its international presence all enabled the corporation to achieve these results and position itself even further as an event organizer of global standing.

As well as its regular portfolio of trade shows, Fira de Barcelona hosted the following events for the first time: Denim by Première Vision, the jeans fashion event from Paris; Handmade, targeting craft enthusiasts, and XD Young Fest, the multimedia leisure and experiences event aimed at young people which was held at the same time as the Children’s Festival.

Internationally, the Fira teamed up with local partners to organize the International Motor Show and Jewellery and Watches in Qatar, the Smart City Expo in Kyoto and Alimentaria in Lisbon and Mexico, and also managed Construmat’s participation in Ficons (Recife, Brazil). It also signed agreements to provide consultancy service on trade fair management in various countries such as Canada, Chile and Mongolia.

2016

Fira closed the year with the highest volume of business (165 million euros) in its history, surpassing the 2014 figures as a consequence of its intense level of activity: 65 trade shows and congresses in its own venues and nine abroad, along with 50 corporate, marketing and sports-related events reaching an overall total of 120.

Especially worthy of mention are the events related to technology and Industry 4.0. In(3D)ustry, based on Additive Manufacturing, was held for the first time and was added to the second edition of the Internet of Things Solutions World Congress (Iots). The Smart City Expo World Congress coincided with the launch of Iwater (integrated water cycle), Circular Economy (waste reuse) and the roving event European Utility Week, putting the Gran Via venue at the very heart of sustainability and innovation.

Also notable was the first edition of Barcelona Games World (video games), organised in conjunction with the Spanish Association of Video Games (AEVI), as well as the re-emergence of the show Motoh! dedicated to a sector with a huge following in Barcelona and Catalonia.

 

2011

Expansion of the Gran Via venue concludes with the addition of two new pavilions giving an extra 40,000 m2 of exhibition floor space to reach the current total of over 400,000 m2.

In September, the largest textile machinery and technology fair in the world, ITMA, was held, occupying the entire recently completed Gran Via venue for the first time.

In 2011, Fira announced that Barcelona had been chosen as Mobile World Capital for the 2012-2018 period, having won the international contest held by the GSM Association, beating Milan, Munich and Paris.

Two highly specialised shows were also created the same year: Smart City Expo World Congress and FM&BS, Facility Management and Business Services World Summit (outsourcing services).

2013

In 2013, Fira reinforced its trade fair leadership in Spain, its role as economic driver and its benchmark position in Europe.

The institution incorporated new shows, such as Pharmaprocess, dedicated to processes in the pharmaceutical institute and Body Life Bcn, on the fitness sector. The list of itinerant events includes EVS, the world’s leading electric vehicle event, held for the first time in Spain.

Worthy of note is the importance of medical and technological congresses held in the Montjuïc and Gran Via Exhibition Centres with over 100,000 highly qualified attendees.

The institution enhanced its international profile by holding and attracting events with a high level of foreign exhibitors and visitors and also organising Fira de Barcelona shows in various cities. The list includes Smart City Expo in Bogotá.

2015

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.

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.

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.

FiraBarcelona_historia_2017
2017

Fira Barcelona’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021 came into effect, emphasising profitable growth, trade fair infrastructures and economic impact and social commitment.

For the second year running, Fira has recorded profits at record levels, this time of more than €187 million. Fira staged 141 events, including Barcelona Industry Week, a new platform focusing on Industry 4.0 and comprising fairs such as In(3D)ustry, IoT Solutions World, Expoquimia, Eurosurfas and Equiplast and other events related to the chemical sector.

Several events were added to Fira’s portfolio: Smart Mobility World Congress, Smart Island World Congress, held for the first time in Majorca, Innovate4Climate, organised in conjunction with the World Bank, Healthio (innovation in health) and Oralth BCN (oral health). The traditional Children’s Festival, in its 54th year, was brought right up-to-date with the interests of today’s boys and girls: as the City of Dreams it focused on discovering professional trades and activities.

Fira co-organized eleven fairs abroad relating to smart cities, catering, containers and packaging, the automotive sector, small and medium-sized enterprises and food. In Mexico, Fira Barcelona Mexico was set up in partnership with the Mercados Mexicanos Group in order to run fairs specialising in smart cities, education, the car industry, etc., joining Fira Qatar which was created in 2015 as a joint venture with the Elan Group in Doha to run the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center. 23 trade shows and more than 70 events were held in 2017.

Among other initiatives, in 2017 Fira provided consultancy services for the start-up of the new Exhibition and Congress Centre in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia and the headquarters of the African Union.

2018

For the first time, the institution exceeded the threshold of 200 million euros in revenue (213.7), confirming its growth and leadership.

153 trade fairs, congresses and corporate events were held, including 12 trade fairs co-organised abroad. Highlights include the joint holding of the Alimentaria and Hostelco trade fairs, as well as the second edition of the Barcelona Industry Week and Smart City Expo World Congress, the latter a benchmark for large city solutions.

In addition to the Mobile World Congress (MWC), a world benchmark in mobile communications, among the major events organised by other operators, Gastech, the world´s biggest gas industry event, the World Ophthalmology Congress and the first corporate meeting in Barcelona of the company Cisco Systems stood out.

From an institutional point of view, 2018 was characterised, to a large extent, by the strategic decision to remodel and enlarge the fairgrounds, taken during the General Council held at the end of the year, which appointed Pau Relat as Fira’s new president of the Governing Board. The Board members were also partly renewed.

The strategic enclosure plan, which has the support of the institutions, should allow for the enlargement of the Gran Vía venue by 60,000 m2 by 2024, as well as a major remodelling of the Montjuïc venue with an eye towards 2029, the centenary of the 1929 International Exposition.

In addition, Barcelona City Council approved the concession to Fira for a period of 25 years, starting in November 2021, of the management of the Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB). This guarantees the development of a comprehensive strategy for trade fairs and congresses in the city.

In 2018, Fira began reviewing its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, taking on the commitment to actively support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDS), within the framework of Agenda 2030.

Another very important event during the year was the announcement of the annual Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) trade fair, the world’s most important event for audio and video systems, at the Gran Vía venue, starting in February 2021.

Fira de Barcelona's Historical Archive

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.