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BETWEEN 1990 AND 2013, BARCELONA’S ANNUAL VISITOR FIGURES SKYROCKETED FROM JUST 1.7 MILLION TO 7.6 MILLION, AND TODAY, TOURISM ACCOUNTS FOR SOME 14 PERCENT OF THE CITY’S ECONOMY, FUELLED BY HIGH DEMAND FROM THE MICE SECTOR.

The seaside city is Spain’s industrial hub and a leading business centre in which international trade fairs and conferences are held every year.

According to the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), in 2013, Barcelona proved to be the world’s top destination in terms of number of delegates and the fourth for international congresses.

Building on this, over the past years, the city has further strengthened its credentials and climbed to the third spot in ICCA’s ranking with regards to volume of meetings.

Consequently, Barcelona Convention Bureau (BCB)’s main aim is to promote the destination as an ideal choice for conferences, conventions and incentive travel as well as offering free and neutral advisory services for professionals interested in staging a function in Barcelona.

The popular hotspot is positioned as one of the top cities in Europe and globally in terms of hosting international conferences, thus, every year BCB prepares a fact sheet on events held in Barcelona.

According to this document – which is produced from proprietary data and research – in 2015, the city welcomed 311 congresses; 121 workshops, symposiums and courses; and 1,836 conventions and incentives.

BCB maintains the view that one of the most important aspects of this niche segment is its contribution to mitigating seasonality, thereby consolidating Barcelona’s tourism model outside the peak summer months.

Based on a 2015 report by Euromonitor International, in 2014 alone, the city welcomed close to 580,000 delegates, translating into over 2.17 million overnight stays.

As the organisation pinpoints, Barcelona is home to a wide variety of high-quality alternatives for hosting functions, including Fira De Barcelona, hailed as the second-largest fair venue in Europe, with 3.5 million yearly visitors and 405,000m2 of floor space.

The second most prominent venue is Barcelona International Convention Centre.

Built in 2004, the establishment boasts a capacity to host congresses for up to 15,000 delegates with an area of 100,000m2, and likewise, located in the Upper Diagonal, Catalonia Congress Palace also offers an ideal alternative for up to 8,000 participants.

The city hosts some of the most important world exhibitions and congresses in the field of food and beverage (Alimentaria), mobile technologies (Mobile World Congress), MICE industry (IBTM World), and construction (Construmat), to name a few.

Part of Dolce Hotels and Resorts, since its opening in 2004, Dolce Sitges has held over 1,800 conferences and functions, with more than 128,000 complete meeting packages contracted.

The property offers an innovative concept specialising in providing companies and organisations with the perfect work setting for business.

Commenting on the product, Francisco José Jiménez, managing director, Dolce Sitges, indicated, “Dolce Sitges has placed itself as a destination of great interest for important associations, conferences planners or companies that look for a resort where to meet, with a comprehensive and integral service that provides a working environment to foster successful meetings.”