The aggregate data provided by APCE members show that last year Spanish venues held a total of 436 congresses which were attended by 446,076 delegates. They also held 393 conventions which were attended by 267,403 participants and 1,324 symposia with a total of 389,348 visitors. The direct and indirect economic impact generated from these activities reached €1,200 million.
In comparative terms, the report seems to indicate that the number of congresses and visitors, which had remained reasonably stable until 2010, fell slightly during the year. However, corporate events, which had been harder hit by the difficult economic circumstances, seem to have slowed their downward trend.
In terms of types of events, 65% of conventions and 80% of congresses were national or international meetings, whilst 75% of congress delegates and 88% of convention delegates had a national or international profile.
The study highlights an increase in international visitors which rose by 35% in the case of congresses and 8% in the case of conventions compared to the previous year. This type of participants contributes to reduce the seasonal nature of tourism and generates an economic impact which is far superior to that of an average holidaymaker, thanks to higher daily average expenditure.
In terms of the conclusions to be drawn from the study figures, José Salinas, the Valencia Conference Centre's CEO and Chairman of the APCE's Board of Directors, stated that “the presence of key factors in boosting our cities’ economies, such as conference centres, is even more important in difficult times. The adverse economic environment has generated a slowdown in the domestic market which has partly been balanced out with increased activity on the international stage compared to the previous year. This puts us in a better position on the international market and makes us more competitive outside Spain”. Salinas also added that “It is important for Spanish venues to continue to climb the international MICE ladder. In fact, one of our strategic priorities is to promote conference centres using both traditional channels and new online tools”.
About the APCE
The Spanish Association of Conference Centres (APCE) aims to represent and defend the collective interests of its members in their dealings with industry peers and with the relevant administrative authorities. The APCE enables its members to exchange business ideas and experiences and acts as the focal point for conference and event tourism in Spain.
The APCE recently elected its new Board of Directors during its annual general assembly. José Salinas (Valencia Conference Centre) was re-elected as the Association's Chairman, a position he has held since 1999. The other members of the Board are Carlos García Espinosa (Cadiz Conference and Exhibition Centre) as Deputy Chairman; Jon Ortuzar (Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, Bilbao) as Secretary; and Luis Acosta (Canary Islands Conference Centre, Alfredo Kraus Auditorium), Enrique Pena (PALEXCO — A Coruña Conference and Exhibition Centre), Belén Mann (IFEMA Madrid Trade Fair Convention Centre), and Ana Cavada (Santander Exhibition and Conference Centre) as the other board members.