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ISE MD: Barcelona switch a historic and crucial moment for show

ISE managing director Mike Blackman has described the decision to relocate the annual trade show from Amsterdam to Barcelona, as the most “significant piece of news” in the show’s history.

ISE managing director Mike Blackman has described the decision to relocate the annual trade show from Amsterdam to Barcelona, as the most “significant piece of news” in the show’s history.

Blackman made the claim during yesterday’s press conference in Barcelona, which formally announced and confirmed the move from 2021. 

Addressing the 100 plus gathered press and exhibitors at Barcelona’s City Hall, Blackman said he struggles to comprehend the level of growth the ISE trade show – the biggest of its kind in the planet – and whilst sad to leave the RAI, the move is essential for the show’s future. 

“We’re at the beginning of a bigger and better journey,” said Blackman. 

“It’s been a long journey from the first ISE event in Geneva 16 years ago. And now we’re at the beginning of a new one. 

“Listening to the AV community, we’ve worked hard to build an exhibition that truly serves our industry.

“This is the most significant piece of new in the show’s history.”

Discussing why it was time to relocate, Blackman added that the RAI did what it could in trying to accommodate it’s current and future needs, but the ends simply didn’t meet long-term. 

“Many people can probably relate to what it’s like to have a home in a nice location where you feel happy. As your family grows, and you have children, you need more room. A bigger yard. Finding extra space in the attic or the cellar, no longer offers the comfort you once had. So, quite simply, the show (ISE) has outgrown its home. 

“ISE continues to increase in exhibition floor space at around 10 per cent per annum. This pressure for additional exhibition [space] is increasing each year. The positive growth is underpinned by the fact the AV market worldwide is forecast to the increase by five per cent per annum through 2021.

“ISE 2019 will fill every corner of the RAI, Amsterdam convention centre and more. But despite the venue’s best efforts to accommodate us, ISE still has a waiting list of exhibitors that wish to be a part of the world’s largest AV and systems integration exhibition. Many of our existing exhibitors are asking for bigger stands.

“We don’t want to be in a position where we can’t meet the demands of our exhibitors.

“It’s not just pressure on floor space. ISE attracts more than 80,000 attendees to each annual show. Visitor numbers are increasing annually by over five per cent. We are now at a stage where more space is needed to meet the needs of the anticipated increase in footfall over the coming years. We need to ensure that the show day is positive and comfortable for all that attend. A long-term solution was required, and that solution meant finding a new location.”

The Gran Via was described by Blackman as one of Europe’s “largest” and “most modern” exhibitions, blending “outstanding architecture and functionality” across eight halls and 200,000sqm. 

“Why did ISE choose Barcelona as its new home? The decision wasn’t taken lightly. Over the past 18 months we’ve undertaken exhibitor and attendee research. We’ve visited many of Europe’s leading exhibition venues. Ultimately, Barcelona was our unanimous choice. Fir Barcelona is one of Europe’s leading exhibition and conference locations. Across two venues it annually hosts 140 trade shows, conferences and corporate events. This includes 30,000 exhibitors and attracts over two million visitors from over 200 countries.

“Barcelona is an ideal city and location for business and pleasure. I think we’re in safe hands.”