The trade fair and congress industry defends the value of events as drivers of economic and social development

Working towards a more innovative and sustainable industry. This is the main objective set by professionals linked to the trade fair and congress field after the recent holding of the first joint edition of the congresses of the Spanish Trade Fair Association (AFE) and the Spanish Association of Conference Centres (APCE) -6, 7 and 8 July in FYCMA (Trade Fair and Congress Centre of Malaga)-. The capital of the Costa del Sol was the venue for the largest congress held to date by both organisations, with more than 170 professionals registered. In the framework of the congress, in which some thirty experts and professionals have given a preview of the future of the sector, the quantitative impact of the industry in Spain has also been made known through the aggregate activity of the two associations, which place the income generated by the more than 6,300 events held annually between fairs, congresses, conventions, conferences and other events at more than 19,000 million euros. According to estimates, the activity also supports 183,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Added to these figures is the role of events as drivers and catalysts for projects and initiatives linked to the generation of business and opportunities, attracting investment, as well as the promotion of talent and the dissemination of knowledge. In this regard, the participating experts highlighted their ability to bring together transformational ecosystems, while pointing to digitalisation and sustainability as major areas of action in the short and medium term.

It should be noted that the AFE and APCE awards were presented at the same time as the congress, with each association recognising the merit and endorsing the management of people and entities that contribute to boosting congress and trade fair activity. On this occasion, the AFE prize – awarded for the first time – went to the president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, José Luis Bonet, for his professional career and his support for trade fairs. For its part, the APCE award, which recognises the loyalty of those entities and individuals who hold congresses and meetings in their congress centres as preferred venues, thereby contributing to boosting the economy of the city and region in which they are held, went to the Spanish Society of Extrahospitalary Paediatrics and Primary Care.

Under the slogan “Adding up to grow”, the meeting brought together representatives of trade fair venues and congress centres from all over Spain, as well as leading figures from the international arena, with the aim of creating synergies, promoting the strengthening of the sector and formulating strategies to generate a greater economic and social impact. Through different presentations, round tables and workshops, the attendees were able to exchange best practices and experiences, establish strategic lines and agreed actions to promote the development of the activity, as well as to promote the optimisation of management and the quality of the services provided by the associates.

The meeting was organised by the Spanish Trade Fair Association (AFE) and the Spanish Association of Conference Centres (APCE). FYCMA (Palacio de Ferias y Congresos de Málaga) acted as co-organiser and venue for the event. Institutional sponsors were the Tourism Department of Malaga City Council through the Malaga Convention Bureau, the Costa del Sol Malaga Convention Bureau and the Public Company for the Management of Tourism and Sport of Andalusia – Ministry of Tourism of the Andalusian Regional Government. BOSCH, MARVA Group, Lezama Group and Alabardero Catering have acted as platinum sponsors. Figueras, Panasonic Business and Quirón Salud were gold sponsors. Acersys, Copicentro, Isoluz, Gómez-Villares & Atencia Abogados, Securitas, Ondoan and Top Fort were collaborators. Grupo Evento Plus, Hosteltur and Grupo Punto MICE also acted as media partners.

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