Mobile World Congress dials up in-person ringtone again in Barcelona

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) was one of the first major tradeshows to disconnect its live audience last February when the pandemic first struck. Now it could be one of the first big international conventions and tradeshows to return big in-person.

Organisers GSM Association have said they hope to welcome 50,000 people to Barcelona for the physical part of the show 28 June–1 July, as well as many more digitally for what will be a fully hybrid event. The show welcomed over 100,000 visitors in 2019 by comparison.

The GSMA says all physical attendees in 2021 will need to provide a negative Covid-19 test and repeat that test every 72 hours.

GSMA did manage to run a smaller show in Shanghai in February, with 17,000 attendees, which proved a useful practice for ramping up the physical element again in Catalonia.

MWC Barcelona 2021 will embrace Connected Impact as its key theme for an event which will encompass the most ground-breaking technology and explore how it can shape the way we live tomorrow.

The GSMA has also produced a health and safety plan for MWC21 Barcelona, developed in coordination with the Catalan health authorities.

The health and safety planCommitted Community, will impact everyone involved with the event and takes a layered approach designed to create a safe environment for staff, workers, exhibitors, visitors, suppliers, partners, and the local community. Layers include frequent testing, contact tracing, touchless environments, re-vamped catering, occupancy monitoring, upgrades to facility infrastructure, increased medical staff and personal commitments like adhering to social distancing. The plan builds on the Protocol on Safety and Prevention against COVID-19 currently being implemented by Fira de Barcelona.

Recently, Fira de Barcelona was awarded the World Travel Tourism Council ‘Safe Travels’ stamp for its Covid-19 safety measures.

The latest health and safety measures were designed in collaboration with the specialist risk management consultancy Aon and with the advice of the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona, a benchmark epidemiological centre.