Fira de Barcelona to close 2015 with over 148 M€ of revenue along with a stronger international activity

Fira de Barcelona expects to close 2015 with a turnover in excess of 148 million euros, significantly higher than budget forecasts, which confirms the positive growth it has experienced in recent years despite the impact of the economic crisis. Its commitment to the growth of its trade shows and the launch of new events, along with its growing international activities both in its own venues and abroad, have defined a strategy that is enabling the institution to consolidate its position in the European trade fair market and attract wealth to the region. 
The main figures of Fira de Barcelona’s activities are being revealed today by the president of the Board of Directors, Josep Lluís Bonet, and the new general manager, Constantí Serrallonga, at the General Council’s meeting chaired by Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, who has applauded the value of the work undertaken by the institution both from an economic point of view and its contribution to the development of the productive sector.
The Council has also approved the renewal of part of the Board of Directors which is joined by the former general manager Agustín Cordón (Grupo Zeta) to replace Jordi Clos (Barcelona Hotel Association), who leaves his position after fulfilling the three mandates stipulated in the Statutes. The three directors renewing their mandate are Pedro Fontana (Elior Concessions), Luis Conde (Seeliger y Conde) and Miquel Martí (Moventia).
The estimated turnover of 148.1 million euros represents an increase of 13.8% over the budget forecast and is 25.7% higher than 2013, the last comparable trade fair year in terms of the calendar of activities. This will result in an anticipated EBITDA of 12.5 million euros, 31.2% higher than in 2013.
A benchmark trade fair 
Bonet underlined “the excellent results” presented by the institution once again in an economic climate that is still fairly fragile, even though there has been an appreciable trend towards improvement. “This is the second biggest turnover achieved by Fira in its history following the exceptional results of last year when we hosted a large number of big international events,”, highlighted Bonet after having pointed out that “this is the result of a years-long strategy to position ourselves in a highly competitive global market as a benchmark trade fair.”
In his first appearance before the media as the new general manager of Fira de Barcelona, Constantí Serrallonga outlined his goal to develop “a management system that will enable the institution to continue expanding not only its business activities but also its dynamic role in the region.” According to a recent survey conducted by ESADE business school, the activities of Fira de Barcelona generate an annual impact of more than 2,600 million euros.
Serrallonga explained that in addition to the major international events held at the Montjuïc and Gran Via venues, such as the Mobile World Congress (MWC), ibtm world, In Cosmetics and Tissue World, amongst others, this year’s results are also underpinned by the improved performance of some of the trade fairs organized by Fira, notably Hispack–Bta, Smart City Expo, the Barcelona Motor Show, the Barcelona Boat Show and Piscina, which can be interpreted as a sign that a more favourable economic cycle is beginning, along with Fira’s commitment to strengthening the positioning of its events through its own organic growth and innovation.
In 2015 the institution continued to host an intensive programme of congresses, especially in the fields of healthcare and technology. Notable European congresses included those on Cataracts and Refractive Surgery, Paediatric Endocrinology, Animal Cell Technology and the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week. In the field of technology, the institution played host to events associated with MWC and Mobile World Capital Barcelona (MWCB) such as 4YFN, geared towards entrepreneurs, and the Critical Communications World 2015 congress, as well as meetings held by giant multinationals: HP, SAP, Microsoft and VM Ware.
A large number of events
In 2015, the institution hosted 68 trade shows and congresses as well as around 50 corporate, commercial and sporting events in its Montjuïc and Gran Via venues, amounting to a total of almost 120 events. Within the trade shows, more than a thousand different activities took place. As well as the events mentioned earlier, other major shows included Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, Graphispag, B-Travel, Bizbarcelona, BBB-Construmat, Denim, Ensenyament, Manga, Comic and Sonar.
Following its policy to innovate by introducing new propositions to address social and economic demands, the IoT Solutions World Congress was held for the first time with considerable success, organized by Fira de Barcelona in conjunction with the International Internet Consortium, which specializes in the implementation of the internet in industrial processes. Also worth mentioning is the resurrection of Barcelona Degusta, the food, gastronomy and cooking show aimed at the general public which had not been held since 2011.
International expansion
During the course of 2015, Fira continued to roll out its international strategy which began a few years ago to promote its presence in other countries with the aim of helping companies’ internationalization processes. In 2015, Fira jointly organized the Qatar Motor Show and the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition with local partner Elan, with which it won the tender to start up and manage the new Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre. It was also involved in the organization of the Smart City Expos in Kyoto and Montreal and in Alimentaria Lisbon and Mexico, and has signed collaboration agreements with Cuba’s public-run company Palco to organize a new portfolio of monographic trade shows in the Caribbean island nation, as well as developing consultancy services in Asia and Africa.
With a view to next year, the institution expects to be involved in the joint organization of new trade shows in Qatar as well as managing the new trade fair venue, where more than 30 events will be held; the organization of the Smart City Expos in Kyoto and Puebla (Mexico) and Alimentaria Mexico; the trade fair and congress centre project in Ulan Bator (Mongolia); the launch of three monographic trade shows in Havana, as well as other consultancy projects in various countries.
New trade shows
Fira expects to generate revenue of more than 140 million euros in 2016, when it will be hosting more than 60 trade shows and congresses, including Alimentaria, MWC, CPhl Worldwide (the biggest international event for pharmaceutical products), Smart City Expo World Congress, Hostelco, Barcelona Boat Show, Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, IoT Solutions, Denim, Caravanning and Sonar. In terms of congresses, it will be hosting the International Liver Congress and the Spanish Society of Rheumatology Congress. The 4YFN event will be held again, organized by the MWCB as part of the MWC and targeted at entrepreneurs.
Moreover, next year Fira is planning to launch at least three new trade shows associated with burgeoning sectors: iWater, on the integral water cycle, and Circular Economy, on reusing waste and extending the useful life of objects, both of which will be held at the same time as the Smart City Expo. Meanwhile, Motoh! will focus on the world of motorcycling, which has a huge following in both Barcelona and Catalonia, resuming a tradition that came to an untimely halt in 2007. In addition, other projects are currently under study as part of Fira’s innovation strategy.
Barcelona, 17 December 2015