"Fasten your seatbelts, we are about to take-off". John Hoffman, CEO and director of the GSMA, ended his speech at the press conference in which the new MWC contract with Barcelona until at least 2030 was presented with these words. We say "at least" because unless one of the parts objects, the contract will automatically renew each year, meaning the MCW could stay in Barcelona indefinitely. During his speech, which began with "What's up Barcelona?" echoing throughout the room where the first MWC was held in 2006, Hoffman highlighted the uniqueness of the city and its entrepreneurial ecosystem, which has grown hand in hand with the MWC. He expressed his happiness to continue linked to Barcelona for so many years with a very powerful public-private partnership which has been solidified in the last two years, as a result of the pandemic, with all the administrations. In fact, Hoffman assured that Barcelona is much more than simply a city where the MWC takes place, rather it is the MWC's vital component, and the congress would not be appraised without the city that hosts it.
One of the press conference's key points were public administrations' contributions to the GSMA, the event's organiser, for the holding of the MWC. With the new contract, the Catalan and Spanish governments and the Barcelona City Council will contribute a total of 8 million euros each, 24 in total, as from 2025. Until now, the administrations contributed a total of 15 million per year to the MWC, and in view of the profits and the success it has achieved in recent editions it was decided to increase the amount for the first time since 2012. In fact, since 2006, the MWC has brought approximately 5.4 billion euros to Barcelona, 267 million in last February's edition, which created 7,100 jobs. The GSMA expects around 70,000 or 80,000 visitors in February 2023.
Jordi Puigneró, Catalan vice-president and Minister of Digital Policy, began his speech, as did all who spoke, by celebrating the renewal of the contract with the MWC, which, he said, "is very important for Catalonia". In fact, the vice-president stated that hosting the MWC is as important to Catalonia as hosting one of the world's most important motor shows in the last century was for Frankfurt, as it brings high quality tourism and added value to the city, and makes Barcelona and Catalonia a digital world brand, just as the Olympic Games did 30 years ago.
Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona, celebrated the MWC's success story in Barcelona and emphasised the congress' wish to have an ongoing partnership with the Catalan capital, which is already a technological and scientific model not only for Europe but also worldwide. The MWC is the mainstay for launching Barcelona as a fully digitalised city for the future. Colau also highlighted the relationship built up over the years between the city and the MWC, which covid has shown to be much stronger than it was. In fact, plans for the contract signed today started minutes after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to Covid.
Nadia Calviño, Spanish first vice-president and minister of Economy was in charge of closing the event and expressed her happiness at having reached this agreement, which lays down a solid foundation for the future. She stated that the MWC has and will have the full support of the Spanish government, as it is an event that not only lasts four days in February, but rather the whole year. And, following Puigneró's words, she assured the MWC places Barcelona on the digital world map, a sector that will be one of the great growth engines in the 21st century. To finish and close the event, the Spanish vice-president quoted Buzz Lightyear, one of the futuristic characters of the century, exclaiming that the MWC will stay in Barcelona "until 2030 and beyond!".