Press Releases

The industry re-unites at IBTM World Barcelona 2021


Over 30,000 pre-scheduled meetings during three-day event 

IBTM World Barcelona, the first face-to-face event in the IBTM portfolio in two years, has been hailed a huge success by organisers, closing today (2 December 2021) with over 30,000 pre-scheduled one-to-one business meetings having taken place, and more than 7,000 attendees joining for quality one-to-one business meetings, networking and education in Barcelona.

The meetings satisfaction score reached 4.7 out of 5 during the three-day event with many attendees commenting on the quality of their meetings and their optimism for the future.

Over 1,200 exhibiting companies from 70 countries around the world attended the three-day event, including the CVBs of Germany, Dubai Tourism, Istanbul, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungarian, Croatia, and Norway, Atout France, Meet in Ireland, Lithuania, Turespana Convention Bureau (Spain), Hilton, Titanic Hotels, Hyatt, and GL Events. In addition, several new exhibitors attended, such as the Montalbano Group, Manchester City Football Club, Sardinia Convention Bureau, Basquetour, and The Celtic Collection.

Commenting on their experience at IBTM World Barcelona, Marina Pegoraro, Executive Account, Regione Autonoma Della Sardegna, said: “IBTM World has always been important for the region of Sardegna. Our partners have been able to reconnect with buyers and trade contacts and tell the world about the region. It was invaluable for our stand sharers to attend the show to help gain exposure for their brands as we recover together from the pandemic. We would not have missed the opportunity to be part of the first major meeting and business trade show since the start of the crisis.”

Nick Tinker, Sales Manager at Event Solutions, Cvent, said: “We’ve had a positive experience overall, for one, the fact that everyone’s here proves how much we’ve been longing to come back together for in-person events. Also, the quality of meetings this year has been fantastic; the footfall has been lower than previous editions, which is expected, but that’s allowed us to have higher quality meetings, have more time to build relationships and make new connections. This has also meant that buyers did make an effort to speak with as many exhibitors and make the most of their attendance.”

Ben Myatt Trenholm, Director Speakers and Conferences at Thinking Heads said: “Three years ago I didn’t have time to speak to all the people I wanted to speak to in the timeframe I was given, so this year it has been much more meaningful to have full 20-minute conversations explaining to my prospective clients exactly what we do, and they also had the opportunity to explain what exactly they need.”

“I had 36 meetings in three days and some of these meetings were not even in my diary. The organisation and the content of IBTM World is always fantastic and I want to congratulate the entire team.”

Over 1,400 high quality Hosted Buyers were present from 72 countries, and almost half were completely new to the IBTM portfolio, representing more opportunities for exhibitors to do business with new contacts.

Delelates attended from globally renowned agencies, corporations and associations including HelmsBriscoe, HPN Global, First Incentive Travel, HPN Global – World, Follow red Branding Experiences, Oriflame Cosmetics, Saudi Aramco, Citigroup Inc, BBVA France, Knauf, Pfizer, Michelin, General Motors; International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI), China Electronics Chamber of Commerce, European Society of Cardiology.

Liat Zakai, Project Manager of Kenes, said: “From an event organiser perspective, IBTM World was incredibly well run; from the shuttle at the airport, which made me feel like a VIP, to the offer of an additional night’s accommodation to make my stay more comfortable, I thought everything was very well thought out. The attention to detail was noticed and appreciated. Thank you for hosting this event and for bringing us back together.”

This year for the first time the Association Programme was created with the support of the four main global organisations for association professionals: European Society of Association Executives (ESAE), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE), and Asia-Pacific Federation of Association Organizations (APFAO), as well as the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). The programme followed three core themes: inspire, exchange and solve, designed to spark fresh ideas, encourage peer to peer learning and sharing of best practice, and deliver tangible solutions to real issues facing the associations and events sector.

In addition, IBTM’s Elite Corporate Programme explored key insights specifically focused on the needs of corporate Hosted Buyers. Themes include: the future of the meetings experience, re-starting events and evaluating their success, and peer-to-peer learning and insights. This tailored programme of sessions was supported by American Express Meetings & Events.

Under the theme of ‘New Business, New Tech, New World’ there was a schedule of inspirational educational sessions around four topical themes: Trends and technology; gamification and engagement; the future of event planning; and career and personal development, delivered by expert speakers from the United Nations Climate Change, LinkedIn, CrowdComms, VisitScotland, BBC Creative and more.

The IBTM World Industry Trends Report, one of the industry's most comprehensive and far reaching studies on the future of meetings and events was presented by Alistair Turner on the first day of the show and touched on key trends affecting the industry, from the micro to the macro, looking at the differences in global regions, and investigating the role of vertical markets. The report can be downloaded by clicking here.

The highly anticipated Stand Awards returned this year with awards going to Discover Moscow, who won the award for Best Large Stand; Beon.Worldwide took home the award for best Small Stand; and Barcelona Convention Bureau received the award for Best Stand Personnel.

The IBTM World app celebrated its best ever year, with over 3,600 downloads, over 142,000 page views and a 60% adoption rate among Hosted Buyers.

Nearly 900 exhibitors representing 71% of all exhibitors utilised Emperia IBTM's digital business card exchange system with in excess of 20,000 exchanges of digital business cards.

Commenting on the close of the event, David Thompson, IBTM World Event Director, said: “For me personally, this has been an incredibly rewarding three days and it has been amazing to see people reconnect after so long apart. For many, this may have been the first event they’ve attended in two years, and it’s fantastic that we were able to play our part in bringing the industry together again.

“The whole team has worked exceptionally hard to make this event a success in quite challenging circumstances and I’m so proud of what we have achieved as a team. Stepping away from our screens and enjoying some face-to-face interaction, inspirational education sessions and one-to-one business meetings has been wonderful.”

IBTM World Online will take place from 14-15 December 2021 as an enhancement to the in-person event in Barcelona.


- Ends –

For all media enquiries, additional comment and request for interview please contact

Becca Krug, Nancy Cremore or Andra Miclaus at davies tanner:

Tel: +44 (0)1892 619100


Notes to Editors:

More pictures from the event are available for download here.

About IBTM

IBTM is a world-leading showcase for the meetings and events industry with a portfolio of events and products offering business solutions across five continents. The portfolio includes IBTM World, IBTM Africa, IBTM Americas, IBTM Asia Pacific, IBTM Wired and IBTM Connect.


IBTM World, the leading global event for the meetings and events industry, is the must-attend three-day event for the worldwide meeting, incentives, conference and events industry. Thousands of meetings and events buyers, suppliers and international trade media visit Fira Barcelona every December for IBTM’s flagship show, with over 74,000 business meetings taking place.

Next event: Tuesday 30 November to Thursday 2 December 2021 at Fira Barcelona

https://www.ibtmworld.com/ followed by IBTM World Online, from 14-15 December 2021.

IBTM Americas, the leading event for the meetings and events industry in North America, Latin America, Europe and beyond, is the must-attend two-day event for the region’s meeting, incentives, conference and events industry. Thousands of meetings and events buyers, suppliers and international trade media visit Centro Citibanamex in Mexico City every August.


IBTM Asia Pacific, the leading event for the meetings and events industry in Asia Pacific, is the must-attend two-day event for the region’s meeting, incentives, conference and events industry. Thousands of meetings and events buyers, suppliers and international trade media are expected to visit Marina Bay Sands in Singapore for the inaugural event in June.

Next event: Tuesday 5 to Wednesday 6 April 2022 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore


IBTM Wired is the newest addition to IBTM’s global portfolio of events and intelligence for the meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry. The event takes place annually online and unites thousands of industry professionals from around the world for four days of one-to-one business meetings, sparking new connections and renewing existing ones and a programme of live and on-demand education sessions.


IBTM Connect is the leading online knowledge hub for the global meetings, incentives, conference and events industry. Established in 2020, it is packed with cutting-edge content to help inspire and educate the global meetings and events industry, with regularly updated industry news and insights, as well as on-demand interviews and webinars with high-profile industry experts.

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.rxglobal.com


RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

*Note: Current market capitalisation can be found at http://www.relx.com/investors