June 22th, 2024 | 5:53


Bilbao on the brink of breaking business tourism records prior to the pandemic

Maria Jose Gonzalez

May 9, 2023 | 1:05 p.m.

The Basque city recovers its position showing strong growth in events and visitors

Booming business tourism

El Business tourism in Bilbao has experienced a notable recovery after the pandemic, approaching 90% of the figures prior to the period of restrictions. This sector, which encompasses meetings, congresses and conferences, requires time to reorganize and adapt to changes. However, Bilbao has worked tirelessly to gain a national and international presence in the MICE segment.

Strategy against seasonality

Attracting professionals for this type of event is a key tool to combat the seasonality of traditional tourism. Business trips help to keep hotels and companies in the sector busy during the less favorable months for leisure tourism. In addition, those who travel for business spend 50% more than conventional tourists, leaving an average of 300 euros a day in hotels, shops, cultural visits and other expenses.

Promising growth and record numbers

Bilbao has maintained stable and promising growth in the last decade in the MICE sector. In 2019, the city reached record numbers with 1.406 events y 224.615 participants. However, in 2020, the numbers plummeted due to the pandemic, with just 229 events and 35.493 visitors. In 2021, the situation improved but it was still far from the figures for 2019, with 514 events and 99.082 people.

Encouraging data for 2022

The data for 2022 show a significant recovery in business tourism in Bilbao. According to the municipal Department of Economic Development, last year there were 1.162 events, 82% of those carried out in 2019, with 197.240 participants. This indicates that the city is close to recovering and even surpassing pre-pandemic figures.

One notable aspect is the increase in the average stay of visitors, which went from 1,8 days in 2019 to 1,9 days in 2022. This data is relevant since it contributes to the economic growth of the city.

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