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International Meetings Show to Surpass Its Pre-Pandemic Numbers

Despite multiple issues hanging over Europe’s 2023 meetings landscape, IBTM World in Barcelona this week will draw more than 3,000 planners from there and elsewhere. Its educational theme: creating culture through events.

As winter sets in across Europe, economic issues related to the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine are causing stress for business-event planners across the continent—from inflation to labor and goods shortages to a potential energy crisis.

Nonetheless, the second-largest show in Europe for the incentive, business travel, and meetings market (after IMEX Frankfurt, held each May) will see even more planner attendees than it did in November 2019, the last edition before the Covid pandemic shut down the global live-events industry.

IBTM World, taking place November 29 to December 1 at Fira Barcelona in Spain, will have 2,200 hosted buyers plus more than 1,000 other buyers, mostly from Europe but also from the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, and Pacific Asia. More than 7,500 exhibitors from 2,200 hotels, destinations, and service providers will be on site to meet with those event planners.

Acknowledging the organizational effects of dispersed workforces in the post-pandemic environment, the show’s educational theme is “creating culture through events.” Breakout sessions over the three days will feature presenters from the C2 Montreal festival, events agency Experience Designed, neuroscience-focused firm ShockLogic, and others. Also, sustainability will be a central topic, with executives from UFI, RX Global, and AmEx Global Business Travel presenting their environmental blueprints.

There is no virtual-participation component to IBTM World, though it’s likely that many breakout sessions will be posted online for on-demand viewing at a later date. For daily updates from the show floor this week, check out the IBTM World blog.

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