Catalan coastal town attracts Mobile World Congress attendees
70% of hotels in Sitges already booked up for MWC
Not everybody going to the Mobile World Congress (MWC) will be staying in Barcelona and the metropolitan area. Many of the attendees of the event, which is expected to draw in around 110,000 people from all over the world, have booked accommodation in the Catalan coastal town of Sitges, about 40 minutes away from the capital.
One of the main reasons is the tranquility away from the city that Sitges provides, as well as the easy connectivity to the congress itself. With just five days to go until the congress kicks off, hotels there are already around 70% booked up, according to figures released by the local hotel association. And town's such as Sitges are the perfect place to unwind after a busy day at the event.
Hoping for a full house
Everyday new bookings are being made, and the Sitges Hotel Association expects rooms will be 95% full when the event begins. The organization hopes for a repeat of last year’s success, in which nearly all 5,000 available places were full.
The vice-president of the association, Álvaro Domínguez, explained why many of the MWC’s participants choose Sitges over the Catalan capital. “There are many clients that choose us because of the easy access to the Fira (where MWC takes place) and the tranquillity,” he said.
Domínguez also stated that some attendees extend their stays, while many also use the hotels in Sitges to carry out business meetings.
According to the hotel association, at the moment seven out of ten places in hotels, hostels, pensions, and tourist apartments are currently reserved. However, it is expected that everywhere will end up practically booked up like last year.
Domínguez also pointed out that the number of people using tourist flats in Barcelona has increased, and this is an obstacle for the hotel sector in Sitges to overcome.
More than 45,000 Mobile World Congress (MWC) attendees will be staying in Airbnb accommodation for the duration of the event, paying a total of more than five million euros between them.
"There are many clients that choose us because of the easy access to the Fira (where MWC takes place) and the tranquillity"
Álvaro Domínguez · Sitges Hotel Association vice-president
The president of the Barcelona Association of Tourist Apartments (APARTUR), Enrique Alcántara, recently explained to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that they foresee all holiday flats in the city being booked up.
"We believe that the tourist apartments of the city of Barcelona will be 100% occupied during the week of the Mobile World Congress," Alcántara said.
According to a calculation published by Airbnb, those who use the plaform will also spend around 40 million euros whilst in Barcelona.
The figures forecast a new record for the number of MWC participants using the accommodation platform during the event, surpassing last year’s total of 40,000, which made an economic impact on the city of 28 million euros, according to Airbnb.
The Mobile World Congress is at the forefront of mobile technology, bringing in the big names of the industry on a yearly basis. But this year it is focussing on a different strategy. Some of the main points of interest will be artificial intelligence as well as the future of mobile phones, how new technologies can help complete United Nations objectives of development and sustainability, and even solar-powered drones.
Even the security will be state-of-the-art. John Hoffman, the president of GSMA, the organization behind the congress, explained that they will be running a pilot face recognition program to scan the faces of attendees. Speaking recently in the Catalan capital, Hoffman also called Barcelona and GSMA partners.