Barcelona will be the new host city for the 3GSM World Congress from 2006, announced the GSM Association (GSMA). The world's largest annual mobile communications conference and exhibition will bid farewell to Cannes at the close of next year's event (14-17 February 2005).
"With its unique ambiance, Cannes has been an outstanding host over the last decade: indeed, it has become synonymous with the Congress," said Rob Conway, CEO and Board Member of the GSM Association. "As our industry has grown to serve more than a billion people, the scale and scope of Congress has increased equally dramatically."
Relocation comes in response to rising attendance and growing demand for exhibition and conferencing space when Cannes has reached full capacity. In 2004, the 3GSM World Congress attracted more than 600 exhibitors, over 28,000 visitors, 4,600 conference delegates, and nearly 1,000 media.
Accessibility, hotel accommodation, the scale and quality of exhibition space and associated services, public transport infrastructure, overall cost of attending and the appeal to visitors of the host city were among the many criteria considered by the GSMA and its conference partner, Informa Telecoms & Media.
The venue selected for 2006, the Fira de Barcelona, offers nearly 100% more space than Cannes and delivers the capacity required to accommodate the 40,000 visitors expected annually within the next few years.
"The fact that the City will host a wireless communications event of the calibre of the 3GSM World Congress is very important in positioning Barcelona at the heart of the information society," said Jordi Portabella, Second Deputy Mayor, Barcelona City Council.
As the global trade association representing mobile operators in more than 200 countries, The GSMA is uniquely placed to provide a forum where the mobile industry's most influential players can come together to discuss the future of wireless communications. Its annual Leadership Summit - the industry's strategy-setting gathering of CEOs - takes place on the eve of the Congress while its annual awards ceremony recognizing the latest innovations is another highlight of Congress week.
"Barcelona has superb conference, business and service facilities and the state-of-the-art communications and transport infrastructure expected of a dynamic, world-leading city with a rich cosmopolitan culture, heritage and lifestyle. With the fantastic support we have received from the Town Council, the Catalonian Government, Turisme de Barcelona, the city's hotel and restaurant associations and the Fira itself, we can raise the 3GSM World Congress experience to a completely new level for all exhibitors and visitors," said Conway.