September and October conferences and events at Palma's Palacio de Congresos will generate some 25,000 hotel stays, evidence that the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions sector (MICE) is on the road to recovery. In 2020, around 90% of scheduled events were cancelled.
Reactivation is being helped by the return of international conferences and so not just those for the national market. The CEO of the Palacio de Congresos, Ramón Vidal, says there is an increase in foreign demand for conferences in Palma and Mallorca. "For the Palacio de Congresos, there are fifteen confirmed corporate events in September and twelve in October." He points to three large conferences for the Spanish medical sector, such as one for the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine.
These three conferences alone will bring around 4,000 participants to Mallorca. "This will have a very positive impact on demand for hotel accommodation - an average of four days." The city's wider economy will also benefit.
Vidal is also president of the Mallorca Convention Bureau. He observes that "it has been a difficult year, but there is light at the end of the tunnel". The second half of 2021 will be key, following on from the June conference for the Society of General Medicine. This was the first major conference since the start of the pandemic. It was a success and "demonstrated to companies and organisers that there all the measures and protocols". This has contributed to the reactivation of conference bookings.
Because of Brexit, one event that is attracting particular attention is a UK banking and finance conference in September.
For the president of the Palma and Cala Mayor Hoteliers Association, Javier Vich, the Palacio's schedule is very positive news. "It is important that there is reactivation of this sector as it directly affects the entire tourism value chain in Palma during the low and mid-season months." The association's 72 hotels will be open "one hundred per cent, at least until the end of October".
Vidal points out that the forecast for 2022 "is positive, especially in April, June, September and October, but it will be 2023 before we can expect absolute normalisation". Looking ahead, he says that between February and April 2023 there will be an event for the automobile industry which will attract some 15,000 people.