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HomeLatest NewsThe conference centers in private hands in full recovery of the sector

The conference centers in private hands in full recovery of the sector

Date: May 30, 2024 Time: 21:48:47

The fairgrounds and convention centers throughout Spain focus their strategies on the recovery of business tourism, which hopes to return to normality in the coming months once the pandemic stage is over. The associations of the sector anticipate an “excellent 2023” with the return of the usual fair calendars, but the three years of paralysis in the usual activity have invited their managers, the majority public, to reformulate their strategic plans. Others that were a reference in their day will do so with new private management formulas, such as the Madrid and Barcelona Conference Centers.

In addition to the venues that host them, the main stakeholders in this turn of congress tourism are the hotels. In this regard, Gabriel Escarrer, president of the Meliá Hotels hotel chain, has anticipated a “high recovery of the MICE segment” during the third quarter of this year. “We are seeing something that we did not see in such a palpable way last year: a solid start to the corporate season, for the business traveler,” he said after releasing the company’s second-quarter results.

The Palacio de Congresos de Catalunya reopens in October

Meliá itself worked on an agreement in principle in January to reform and manage the complex made up of the Palacio de Congresos de Catalunya and the old Rey Juan Carlos I hotel in Barcelona, ​​both closed since 2020. The abandonment of the property gave rise to a new exploitation agreement between the owners of the complex, Tyrus Capital, and the Escarrer family chain.

The agreement was required by Fairmont, the company that operated the facility until the pandemic and which, given the situation, had to put its management “on hold.” The Mercantile Court No. 11 of Barcelona ruled on the matter in mid-June, dismissing the claim and giving Meliá free rein. Once the conflict has been resolved, the hotel chain has activated the countdown to clean up the face of the facility, which will reopen in October this year, while the hotel will be converted to the Gran Meliá “Miranda de Pedralbes”, which is scheduled to open in January 2024.

“This resolution represents a new turning point in the work necessary to return to the city of Barcelona a leading hotel and congress complex for the congress and urban leisure segments”, highlighted Ramón Vidal Castro, Director of Operations at Meliá and who assume the course of this new enclosure. The return to activity of the Palacio de Congresos de Catalunya will allow the reinstatement of the Ciudad Condal offer, an auditorium for more than 2,000 people, 39 halls of various sizes and 4,000 square meters for fairs and exhibitions.

Madrid awaits the Ministry of Industry

In a different situation is the Palacio de Congresos de Madrid, located on Paseo de la Castellana and whose future is in the hands of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. Built in 1970, the building was closed in 2012, after the Madrid Arena tragedy, for failing to comply with self-protection and security regulations. The department headed by Héctor Gómez intends to cede the operation of this building for 40 years in exchange for the successful bidder carrying out the necessary rehabilitation works for its return to life, valued at 72 million euros.

The Government has not yet launched the public tender for its exploitation, but different actors have already shown their interest in managing the property. The most prominent has been IFEMA Madrid, the semi-public manager of the capital’s fairgrounds, which has been behind it for years and considers it “an asset that must be recovered for Madrid”, according to the president of its executive committee, José Vicente de los waiters.

The trade fair institution does not rule out competing with Real Madrid, which has also shown its interest in the property as a way of extending the business it intends to develop with the renovation of the Santiago Bernabéu, located nearby. In the past, the French company GL Events, in charge of the Barcelona International Convention Center until November, which passed into the hands of Fira Barcelona, ​​also showed interest in operating the venue. The new headquarters of the World Tourism Organization will be located in a building attached to the Palacio de Congresos, after the Government gave the green light to the works necessary for its implementation, valued at 25 million euros.

Alicante seeks financing for its new center

The City of Light continues with its plans to build a new Congress Center on the docks of the Port of Alicante. The change of regional government, now in the hands of the ‘popular’ Carlos Mazón, has simplified the plans of the mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala, who in March launched a project competition to design the new building, which would cost a maximum of 65 million co-financed euros between the Provincial Council (50 million) and the City Council (15 million).

But Mazón, promoter of the project from the Provincial Council that he presided over until May, announced last Tuesday his intention that the Generalitat Valenciana also participate in the financing and management of the property. He would do it by setting up a “tripartite consortium” with the provincial and local administrations and the contribution of funds from the 2024 regional budgets.

The regional president opened the door for the project to have public-private collaboration or even the participation of the central administration. “It’s about looking for the best formula to move it forward and the more we are on this boat, the more we can advance,” he said. The new facility, which aspires to become the new emblem of the city, has an auditorium with capacity for 2,000 people, another for 500 and a conference room for 300 attendees, as well as parking and auxiliary facilities.

Granada also seeks to revitalize its Palace of Exhibitions and Congresses hand in hand with the private sector. At the beginning of the year, a change of hands of the shares of the private part of the consortium in charge of the center was announced, which would be accompanied by an investment plan worth 5 million euros. These were completed with another 8 million from the Next Generation funds for the modernization of the property, granted by the Junta de Andalucía, which has yet to give its approval to the entry of the new shareholders.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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