Editor's Blog

The Catalonia question

At the time of writing, the political situation in Catalonia remains tense and unstable.

The controversial independence referendum on 1 October has led to Spain’s biggest political crisis for a generation and seen thousands of protestors from all sides turn out onto the streets.

Tourism to the region has fallen by 15 per cent since the vote, with at least one major conference – the Eurochambres Economic Forum 2017 – apparently postponed due to concerns over delegate security.

And bookings are “in freefall” for the last quarter of 2017, especially in Barcelona, according to Jose Luis Zoreda, vice president of tourist association Exceltur.

Alfonso de Poyo, vice-president of Melia Hoteles Internacional - which has eight hotels in Catalonia, five of which are in Barcelona – has seen reservations fall by 4 per cent since the vote and described the situation as “very worrying”.

He told The Guardian: “In a short period of time our hotels have seen rooms cancelled because conferences have been put on hold.”

This is not, you imagine, the preparation that ibtm world organisers were hoping for ahead of the annual industry knees-up next month. Nonetheless, the show is going ahead as planned on 28-30 November.

One thing you can be sure of is that M&IT will be in Barcelona for the 30th anniversary edition of the show – where ex-MI5 director Dame Stella Rimington’s keynote speech on safety and security will be of extra-special interest in the current climate.

But before all that, we want to know your current thoughts on attending the show. Does the uncertainty put you off travelling, or are you not remotely concerned by events in the region? Perhaps you’re waiting until closer to the time to make a decision – whatever the state of play, please do let us know in the comments.

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  • Mark Dodds 26/10/2017 Of: Roythornes Solicitors

    Interesting figures and I'm surprised that event organisers are cancelling at this stage. Whilst the 'worst case' scenario would be some form or civil unrest, we would all hope that it does not come to this and that a 'pre-emptive' withdrawal by event organisers will not harm a sector that is clearly very important to the region. But we live in uncertain times and I for one would not like to take the decision to 'go' or 'no go' if i had something arranged in the next few months.