Exhibition and conference business came to a halt in March. | Pere Bota


According to the Mallorca Convention Bureau, the pandemic has meant the loss of some 100 million euros for the island's economy because of the cancellation of conferences and exhibitions.

The president of the bureau and also the CEO of Palma's Palacio de Congresos, Ramón Vidal, says that some 90% of events were cancelled or postponed. In the particular case of the Palacio, around 75,000 event participants have been lost since March. "This has had a direct financial impact on Palma and the rest of the island that exceeds 30 million euros." The effect of all the cancellations raises the figure to 100 million euros, with hotels, restaurants, taxis, transport, retail and nightlife all having been hit.

Since it opened in April 2017, there has been an upward curve in terms of the number of events at the Palacio and the number of attendees. This came to a halt in March, and Vidal anticipates that it will be June next year when there is a return to some normality. For the first quarter of 2021, everything is still up in the air and dependent on health measures.

For April, the Palacio has scheduled some audiovisual and technology events, but these could yet be affected. In June, larger events are programmed, with more than 2,500 participants. These include the ASLO Oceanography World Congress and the conference of the Spanish Society of General and Family Doctors. From that point on, "we have important conferences for the technology, automotive, medical and pharmaceutical sectors".

The bureau believes that safe corridors, vaccines and diagnostic tests hold the key to the sound operation of the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) sector. "There is much uncertainty and the whole sector is hoping."