Barely a few months after the moral injection it represented for Barcelona the face-to-face return of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) with more than 60,000 attendees after the pandemic, a new technological meeting that for the majority of citizens and even part of the hotel industry is almost unknown, but that without a doubt will mark the economic activity of the city this week. The ISE audiovisual fair expects to reach some 50,000 visitors this year, although its influx will be more diluted in the city as a whole, given that May is being a month of intense tourist recovery and high occupations. The Gremi d’Hotels expects to be around 85% these days, which means that some hotels in the center will have hung the full, since they add the vacation traveler of these dates.

Hoteliers know that the new event is destined to gain weight year after year (well above the 800 exhibitors of this edition and even reaching its previous records in Amsterdam) as has already happened in Barcelona with the mobile congress in Barcelona since its inception . However, according to some operators consulted, at the moment the profiles of participants would not reach the elitist heights of the great managers in that one. “There is not so much demand for suites or special reservations,” they point out from a five-star hotel. “Today they will begin to arrive but we still know little about the type of client,” they add in another.

Expectations and doubts

The novelty also raises expectations –but many questions– in the restoration, which expects there to be an upturn in small reservations, as well as some more important and corporate ones with larger groups. sources of Guild of Restoration indicate that, in any case, the activity regarding gastronomy is being less than during the MWC. There does seem to be a clear interest in establishments that offer dining and entertainmentall in one, as can be seen in establishments on the Paseo Marítim, which have various reservations linked to participating brands, both for small groups and for more than a hundred congress attendees.

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Clubs like Sutton, for example, will even close to the general public on Wednesday because they have an exclusive party for a participating company, with between 600 and 700 attendees expected that night, they indicate to this newspaper.

However, given the revival of tourism in the city these days, it is difficult to assess the weight of the ISE in total arrivals. This is indicated from aparturwith tourist apartments with high occupancy, but without being able to assess what part corresponds to business tourism since it is high season, explains its president, Enrique Alcántara.

In any case, the president of the hoteliers, Jordi Closapplauds the strategic importance of the event, while underpinning the return of the Business tourismbut also encourages the figures of a May that will be very close “if not equal” to that of 2019, prior to the disaster that has kept many lodgings closed for a long time. Clos highlights that in addition to recovering visitors, the sector is “recovering prices” almost at the post-pandemic level, so that profitability tends to normalize and almost 90% of the hotel plant has reopened.

The high occupancy It allows hotel rates to be traced, which end up acting as a filter for the visitor, as the city council has recently defended. The leader of the Barcelona employers assumes that at a higher price, it is normal for a client with more purchasing power to arrive, although for two years the accommodation was forced to the opposite strategy to revive reservations. This week, the five stars still available are quoted in many cases around 500 euros per night, although lower than on peak dates of Mobile. Those of four have risen to more than 300.

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As a climax to the lively month, in ten days the appointment of the F1 to Barcelonawhich precisely attracts many visitors with a large budget, while the recovery of cruise ships that start their route in Barcelona has also benefited many establishments.

The best news for the hotelier is that the June bookings “are doing well” and they draw a good summer in terms of business and recovery, if there is not some new turn of the pandemic that again affects a sector that is very vulnerable to the coronavirus.

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