Last November, economist Constantí Serrallonga was appointed general manager of Fira de Barcelona. Before taking up his post, however, he already knew a few things about trade fairs and conferences: as the manager of Barcelona City Council he was frequently involved in the trade fair milieu, plus his experience in other spheres (hospitality, TMB, the private sector, etc.) has given him a multifaceted and global perspective of the economic and social spheres. A perspective very close to that of the trade fair business.
Now, looking at it from the inside, he confesses that he is even more aware of the role played by Fira, particularly with regard to SMEs, the region, the impact on employment, the generation of wealth, ‘and a social value that can’t be measured in economic terms,’ he notes.
What major goals have you set yourself?
I want to update and drive forward Fira’s Strategic Plan in order to identify the challenges ahead of us and our internal and external opportunities, putting an emphasis on teamwork which, in an organization like this, is absolutely fundamental.
The needs of the business and economic world, not to mention the social and political ones, are demanding and ever-changing. Serrallonga is aware of this and emphasises that ‘Fira holds a prominent position in the national and international market which we intend to strengthen, anticipating the needs expressed by society and the economic sectors.’
Fira is not just about the economy but also has a public and civic value, as highlighted in a recent study by ESADE business school. The general manager confirms that the creation of social value should be seen as the institution’s contribution to society as a whole, ‘in terms of improving living conditions, creating wealth and wellbeing, generating opportunities, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and collective initiatives… ”
Perhaps the worst of the crisis has now passed, although its effects are still being felt by many individuals, families and companies, and we are now in a kind of permanent limbo of uncertainty.’ This is how Constantí Serrallonga sees the future in this context:
I think Fira will continue doing what it is best equipped to do: being alert to demands in its sector when it comes to creating or attracting trade shows and congresses; taking advantage of the dimension of Barcelona as a major international platform for business, and supporting the business sector. All this, as well as innovating in products, services and the way we relate to our exhibitors and visitors. By definition, trade fairs are dynamic entities, and this is inherent in Fira de Barcelona’s DNA.
Read the full interview in Firanews