The new Queen of the Seas

The Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, is visiting Barcelona. This colossus has become the new Queen of the Seas, usurping Poseidon himself. The figures speak for themselves: 220,000 tonnes, 360 metres long —the length of three football pitches—and a capacity of 6,300 passengers and 2,300 crewmembers.
This is the first time a ship of this size has visited Europe, as up to now they have only operated in the Caribbean. During its three planned visits to the Catalan capital, up to 37,000 passengers will be disembarking, generating an economic impact of more than 4 million euros. This figure could only be surpassed by its twin sister, the Allure of the Seas. And it will be. In 2015, this other giant will be using Barcelona as its base port for its 25 cruises from the city (with , welcoming up to 158,000 passengers on board who will leave some 17.5 million euros in the city.
There is no doubt that the arrival of both ships further strengthens Barcelona’s leadership of the European and Mediterranean cruise market —last year the city was visited by a total of 2.6 million passengers. This means that hosting an international event on the cruise sector in Barcelona is no coincidence.
Indeed, later this month Seatrade Med will be launching at Fira de Barcelona, the biggest dedicated cruise sector congress in the Mediterranean, the world’s second most popular cruise destination. The meeting will be showcasing all that’s new in an industry that has changed exponentially since the famous TV series The Love Boat revealed a new way of travelling: on board giant floating cities. This travel option plays host to more than 20 million passengers every year, with around 300 companies offering some 2,000 destinations in practically every corner of the world.

Health “made in Fira”

This Saturday, there will be 30,000 more doctors in the city of Barcelona. It is not a plan to reinforce healthcare services during the summer, but rather cardiologists coming from around the world to visit the city and Fira for the European Society of Cardiology Congress. The symposium is one of a long list of medical or health-related events that Fira is hosting or organising, among which are the European Respiratory Society Congress 2013, the meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, or the recently created MiHealth Forum.

It is the largest medical meeting held in the Catalan capital in recent years, but it is by far not the only one. Over the years, Barcelona has consolidated itself as the capital of medical congresses. Between 2011 and 2013, the city was the site of 390 meetings, bringing together a total of 258,000 delegates, according to Barcelona Convention Bureau data.

In recent years, the number of participants at these congresses has grown exponentially, even though the number of congresses and conferences in this sector has stayed at around 130 each year. Therefore, while in 2011 55,000 doctors visited the city, 79,000 came in 2010, and in 2013 a total of 123,443 industry professionals was recorded.

Table1 Health made in Fira

The following are some of the most noteworthy congresses in recent years:















2013 26th ECNP CONGRESS Barcelona


2012 ESTRO 31 Barcelona






A secret agent in Fira

Anacleto A secret agent in Fira

One of the most famous spies of the past 50 years is on a special mission in Fira. It’s not James Bond… more like Agent 86. We are talking about Anacleto, the beloved secret agent from the Spanish comic. This mythical character, created by the great Manuel Vázquez in 1964 for Editorial Bruguera, was one of the few people of the time that was ‘licensed to screw up’ (or con licencia para meter la pata, the Spanish title published in 1972).

His adventures—a parody of the novels and series of this genre such as 007, with hidden passageways, villains and coded messages—come to life on the big screen through the eyes of director Javier Ruiz Caldera (3 bodas de más, Promoción fantasma). The film, produced by Zeta Cinema, has an all-star cast, led by Imanol Arias and Quim Gutiérrez, along with other familiar faces such as Alexandra Giménez, Berto Romero, Carlos Areces, Rossy de Palma and Emilio Gutiérrez Cava.

One of the locations for the filming of Anacleto: agente secreto [Anacleto: secret agent], which takes place in Barcelona, is precisely hall 5 in the Montjuïc venue, which for a few days, according to the script, will be turned into a train station. Who knows what adventures—or misadventures—this unique spy will have at Fira? To find out, we will have to wait for the film to premiere in 2015.

A Hidden Treasure

Font1 A Hidden Treasure

The Magic Fountain is, with no doubt, one of the most emblematic features of Montjuïc mountain, with over 2.5 million tourists who visit Barcelona every year travelling to see it. Due to the recent restoration of the Venetian towers in Plaça d’Espanya (see our recent post), we discovered one of the treasures hidden in the installations built for the International Exposition in 1929: the original electric switchboard for the light and water show designed for the occasion.

Designed by engineer Carles Buigas, the fountain has 3,600 nozzles that shoot out two to four cubic metres of water per second. From the western tower (that closest to Hall 8), the lighting for the fountains as well as the towers of light that ran along either side of Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina and the hall façades was switched on and off.

Font2 A Hidden Treasure

Two of the fountain’s great innovations were the water spray system, without which the coloration of the fountains would not have been uniform, and the creation of a remote control system that allowed the ‘pianist’, as the person in charge of managing the show was known, to control the fountains through a keyboard located over the restaurant La Pèrgola, turning the play of light and water into a veritable concert instead of a mechanised programme.

Barcelona: a congress-friendly city

Congressos2 Barcelona: a congress friendly city

Year after year, Barcelona’s profile as an economic and business hub grows stronger and stronger. The Barcelona brand is no longer just associated with tourism but also with foreign investment, competitiveness and the organization of congresses, an area in which it is among the top 10 cities in the world according to the Barcelona  Observatory’s 2014  report presented this week by Barcelona City Council and the Chamber of Commerce.

According to the report, in 2013 some 179 international congresses without fixed venues were held in Barcelona, a figure that represents growth of over 16% compared to the previous year and which has boosted the city to fourth place on the global city ranking, currently topped by Paris. Furthermore, Barcelona is the world’s top congress city in terms of the number of delegates at these events, and third in the number of congresses without fixed venues organized between 2008 and 2012, with 519,159 delegates attending 822 conventions, according to the International Congress and Conventions Association (ICCA).

The city is also increasingly positioning itself as a global reference for hosting IT and technology congresses. In this respect, the Barcelona Convention Bureau estimates that around 37% of all the symposiums held in 2013 were medical, 14% were on technology and 12% were scientific.

Looking back, it is compelling to see how, over the last 20 years, the city has quadrupled the number of congresses it holds, thus increasing its wealth and competitiveness, but what is even more compelling today is looking towards the future; according to the Financial Times, Barcelona holds seventh place in the ranking of European cities of the future in terms of economic development and quality of life.

The greenest Fira

The commitment to environmental sustainability has been one of the hallmarks of Fira de Barcelona since 2007 when we launched a comprehensive sustainability programme that grouped its former initiatives with completely new ones. Its commitment to minimize the impact of the events held in Fira and entice exhibitors and organizers with a combination of pioneering protocols to minimize energy consumption and waste, and the construction of the Gran Via venue, a leader in environmental sustainability, has made Fira an international benchmark.
Proof of this is that one of the rooms that welcomes Fira, the Mobile World Congress, became his last year in or-no net carbon emissions, the world’s largest “carbon neutral” event. To achieve certification, organizer GSMA event, had an important ally in the Gran Via, designed by renowned Japanese architect Toyo Ito, not only for its modernity but also by its capacity for energy saving and emission reduction as last year we showed in this video.

Among the solutions that equips the grounds include a photovoltaic plant on the roof of the enclosure capable of producing 5,868 GWh/year and prevent the emission of 3,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere; efficient HVAC and lighting systems that take advantage of natural ventilation (free cooling) and natural light; DHW solar thermal; use of ground water, and an architectural double skin which thermally insulates the venue as well as the use bioclimatic patios.
In addition, the programme also focuses on waste reduction within Fira’s events. This has been achieved through a policy of prevention focused on eco-design of stands that use organic or recycled materials that are also recyclable and reusable, locally sourced -reducing transport costs and emissions-, and also reducing the weight of the materials used. The programme also features a protocol for collecting, processing, management and treatment of waste that minimizes their environmental impact.

1,000 ways of helping

More than 2.3 million children in Spain live below the poverty threshold. They don’t know what the crisis is or what being unemployed means, but they are its main victims. This has been highlighted by UNICEF in its annual report which reveals that 23% of Spanish families with one or two children are suffering deprivation, barely managing to subsist on less than 14,700 euros per year for two adults and two children.
This situation is exacerbated in the summer with the closure of school canteens, where at least children were able to get a nutritious meal suited to their age group, and in some extreme cases their only meal of the day. In addition, the number of food donations drops in summer. Unfortunately, hunger does not go away on holiday. Under this slogan (“Hunger doesn’t go on holiday”), the second edition of a campaign coordinated by the four food banks in Catalonia is being rolled out to help people in our country. The aim is to reach more than 250,000 beneficiaries.
What do we need? Basic foodstuffs with a high nutritional value such as rice, pasta, pulses, oil and milk. There are more than 1,000 ways of collaborating, through over 700 charitable organizations and associations, companies, institutions, etc. that have come on board the initiative by organizing a host of activities. The Fira de Barcelona is one of them. From tomorrow until Friday 4 July, Hall 1 of the Montjuïc Exhibition Centre will become a centre for receiving food donations. Last year, we managed to collect 500 kilos of food in this one space. If you care, collaborate.
Choose how you want to help here


Sonar2014 Music+Art+Business=Sónar

When Ricard Robles, Enric Palau and Sergi Caballero launched Sónar in 1994, they could have had no idea that the Barcelona-based festival of advanced music and new media art would become one of the world’s biggest events of its kind. With just 6,000 attendees at the debut event, it now attracts stratospheric numbers: 110,000 people visited the last edition which was held recently at the Montjuïc and Gran Via exhibition centres, where a daily record of 52,000 visitors was recorded. A mere handful!

The three friends have discovered the formula for success, an almost perfect equation that combines art and leisure, avant-garde and experimentation, with the intensive promotion of electronic music, a highly dynamic sector that moves more than 6,200 million dollars worldwide.

The result is Sónar, a hybrid event that falls somewhere between a 24-hour dance floor, a congress, a laboratory of ideas and a business platform for the representatives of record producers, concert promoters and audiovisual creators. This innovative format has already been exported to cities such as Reykjavik, Buenos Aires, New York, London, Frankfurt, Los Angeles and Tokyo, amongst many others.

For some years now, the music industry has seen these macro-festivals as a goldmine for their business, somewhere to not only find out about the latest trends and new talents but also to meet up with industry peers and firm up business deals. And that’s not all: these massively attended macro-events also transform the cities in which they are held and have a powerful economic impact on the immediate area. There is no doubt at all that they represent very healthy business format.

How to sell yourself in three minutes

We live in a world in which image, immediacy and getting to the point are the rulers of both personal and professional relations. And a new player has come to play a fundamental role: Internet and the viral capacity of social networks like Twitter or Youtube. This scenario has forced all industries to take their positions to keep themselves in the game, and the world of business is no exception.

Bizbarcelona has been solid proof of this. A total of 50 messages were recorded at the video pitch sessions of the trade show, a benchmark event for the world of SMEs, entrepreneurs and freelancers  held on the 4th and 5th of June at Fira’s Montjuïc venue.

BizBarcelona built a recording set and made it available to visitors interested in making their own promotional message to start building their personal brand. With the help of communications experts, interested attendees made a three-minute video with their message, which was then posted on BizBarcelona’s YouTube channel. A new way to sell yourself and ensure the widest potential audience is reached.

So… Lights, camera and action!

PitchBiz How to sell yourself in three minutes

25 metres for a dream

It’s May in Barcelona and the Bridal Week is back. 42 Nordic, Mediterranean and African beauties arrive backstage at the Gaudi Novias Catwalk with a clean face and squeezed into their jeans. A team of 15 makeup artists, 15 hairdressers and 6 manicurists take 2 hours to create the new image for a perfect bride. When they are ready, the last thing is the dress with its accessories: a team of 5 seamstresses put the finishing touches so that the models can showcase the outfits under 80 spotlights along the 25-metre catwalk that separates them from over 50 flashes of the photographers and of the dreams of brides from around the world.    

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