The Catalunya Convention Bureau (CCB) has made its debut in London with a buyer trade show. The launch was held at the new, 157-room ME Hotel on The Strand, which is due to open at the end of next month (to underline that point, ME staff were dressed in logoed, bright yellow construction vests).
Approximately 50 buyers attended and sat down to a dozen 10-minute meetings each with Catalan suppliers ranging from hotels to convention bureaus to destination management companies. The hosts, Sònia Serracarbassa, director of the CCB, and Vicenç Capdevila, director of the CCB’s UK and Ireland office in London, told the buyers that: “Catalunya is a first-class international meetings destination with more than 130 meetings suppliers.”
The bureau, which is two years old, has suffered recent budget cuts estimated at between 30 and 40 per cent due to Spain's on-going economic worries. It remains buoyant, however, with Capdevila saying that new high-speed trains from Barcelona allowed convention destinations such as Lleida, Reus and Girona to be reached in 30 minutes. Its gastronomy remains world famous and its convention centres – some of which are new or have been recently expanded – in Girona, Lleida and Reus provide an alternative meeting option to those already well known in events industry superstar Barcelona.
Josep Suárez, head of the UK delegation of Catalan’s parliament, the Generalitat de Catalunya, was also present.
The event ended with excellent Catalan wine and tapas in ME’s stylish bar.
Pictured: Buyers chat to Catalan suppliers at the new ME London