18 Mar 2020



Faced with an exceptional situation caused by Covid-19, measures have been taken for weeks to prevent the increase in the spread of the pandemic at all costs. This has caused numerous changes in the social, work and economic situation of both companies and families, the self-employed and entrepreneurs. Although the economic measures and possible aid have not yet been clearly defined, from the Government of Catalonia some initiatives have already been taken to increase aid to support the territory by more than 50% or a specific partica to help the self-employed. There are also some municipalities that have also announced that they will apply measures to support local and autonomous trade.

All this has led society to a situation of concern. However, there are sectors that work intensively to curb the disease and be able to return to normality as soon as possible. Apart from the health sector, which is currently the most stressed in order to cope with the constant increase in infections, there are other more technological sectors that have also intensified their work in capturing information to allow decisions to be taken to help nip in the bud the spread of the pandemic. In this sense, smartphones are an extraordinary tool in capturing information. It has already been used successfully in both Sud-Korea and China, which have used the instrument as a sensor to instantly capture a large amount of data that has allowed them to follow the evolution of the disease and the infections of the users of the devices. On the one hand, data were collected that depended on direct input, and on the other, other instruments were used that remotely identify and measure people’s body temperature. Privacy has been given up in exchange for being more effective in fighting pandemics. On the other hand, in Barcelona the Supercomputing Center (BSC) has launched a project to modulate possible coronavirus vaccines with the participation of companies such as Grifols and with the support of other pharmaceutical companies. Although it is still a long way off, many societies are on their way to becoming a digital country, since they have the tools that the society itself has endorsed and uses regularly.

Panoramic interior view of the BSC – Barcelona Supercomputing Center

New horizons for the MICE segment

The current situation, totally new and unprecedented, has begun to generate a growing social awareness that will change the way of doing and working of different sectors, especially tourism, since the mobility of people, whether for leisure or business it is on review. Work is already underway on sustainability in travel and a first debate has opened among professionals in the tourism industry to drive change and demand more sustainable travel programs. Companies and suppliers must adapt their offer to be relevant to the needs of travelers. Travel management and event organization companies are opening the opportunity to develop a key role in making leisure and business travel more sustainable. Reports and studies that measure the carbon footprint on each trip should be thoroughly reviewed and this can change the entire fabric of tourism service providers.
Despite the fact that the Coronavirus-Covid 19 outbreak, as it has done in most business sectors, has also cut the growth of the MICE sector, the new horizon that will open in the organization of events and conventions or international meetings already it will be radically different from what we have known so far. Virtual meetings and increased awareness of environmental policies, either by companies or individually by delegates and attendees, will take center stage in the upcoming events that are to be held and that can be held in the not too distant future. As the current situation is seasonal and will subside, the tourism sector will have to look further oportunities.
It’s time to wake up and reinvent yourself.

Aerial view of the Fira Barcelona trade fair complex where most of the events and congresses are held in Barcelona

Still, it seems that preferences in the celebration and organization of events should not change too much. According to the new 2019 Cities & Trends report published by BCD Travel, New York and London continue to lead the preferred cities for “Business Travel” in the global ranking. In the case of Europe, which is a mature market, after London are Amsterdam and Vienna. The descent of Paris stands out, which changed its panorama of organization of events due to the protest actions of its “yellow vests” and which has placed the French capital in fourth position. Barcelona continues in the Top 5, followed by Zurich, Copenhagen, Madrid and Milan. Close this list of the ten favorite cities Stockholm, which last year replaced the German city of Frankfurt.

Tourist and cruise activity in Barcelona

On the other hand, globally, in addition to New York, which continues as the leader, it highlights, on the one hand, that San Francisco has risen to third place, while Beijing has fallen two positions due to the economic slowdown of China itself and the trade war with the United States. In the intercontinental ranking, no Latin American city appears among the ten most popular destinations when choosing one of their cities to organize events


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