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It’s Happening: IBTM World Still On This Year

The last MICE trade show of 2020 looks set to go ahead in December in Barcelona. More U.S. shows are now off, however.

The Institute of Business Travel Management has confirmed that IBTM World will take place at the Fira de Barcelona in Spain. The event, which typically draws more than 15,000 meetings-industry professionals and 3,000 destination marketers, will take place December 1-3. Last year’s attendees came from 141 different countries, including three percent of them from the U.S. who represent 10 percent of the show’s hosted buyers.

One obstacle for American planners at the moment is a ban on travelers to the European Union from the U.S. A spokesperson for IBTM said, “Obviously, current restrictions are preventing a lot of travel, but as we know this can change on a weekly basis. IBTM is confident that from September onwards [Americans] will be able to travel again. As a result, we are constantly monitoring all our source markets and may change the buyer mix slightly as different markets open up.”  

Last year, IBTM World signed a new contract with the Barcelona Convention Bureau to hold the event there until at least 2022. Spain has been under an intense lockdown since March 14th, but is now entering the final phase of reopening. Theaters, exhibitions, and outdoor events of up to 400 attendees are now allowed and, barring setbacks, by December there should be no more restrictions on large gatherings.

Shane Hannam, portfolio director for IBTM events, says IBTM World is not just an opportunity “to reconnect with colleagues and do business, to discover new things and share knowledge, but also to celebrate and to remember.”

In the U.S., meanwhile, large conventions and trade shows are still being canceled. This week, the Global Gaming Association announced that G2E 2020 scheduled to take place in Las Vegas from October 5-8 will not go ahead despite the reopening of many properties in that city. The event typically draws 27,000 professional gamers and more than 400 exhibitors from 33 countries. Organizers blamed the cancellation on “uncertainty around global travel restrictions and currently unknown guidance on large public gatherings this fall.”

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