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Catalan politicians voice support for in-person ISE 2021

Prominent leaders say Barcelona is ready and waiting to host this year's event

Prominent regional and local politicians have confirmed that Barcelona is ready and waiting to host ISE 2021 in June. Last week, Integrated Systems Events managing director Mike Blackman travelled to Barcelona to meet with key figures from the political and business community of Catalunya. Among them were Conseller Ramon Tremosa, Catalan minister of enterprise and knowledge, and Jaume Collboni, first deputy mayor, Barcelona City Council.

Conseller Tremosa (pictured left) explained how the Generalitat de Catalunya is fully supporting Fira Barcelona and other venues in the region that are hosting major international events – including an F1 Grand Prix race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in May. Referring to the pandemic, he said: “In the last four weeks, the situation is improving quite well, so we expect that in a few weeks, with the vaccines, we will recover quicker than we expect to normality.”

Deputy Mayor Collboni (above right) remarked on how the city’s reputation for creativity, technology and hosting international events made it the ideal location for ISE. Speaking in Spanish, he said: “We are prepared, with all the security measures and all the necessary protocols recommended by the health authorities. We are ready to welcome exhibiting companies and visitors as they all deserve.”

ISE is still scheduled to take place in June, at the Fira, Barcelona, unless “circumstances” force its cancellation as an in-person event for 2021, with a decision set to be made by March 1, according to Blackman. Responding to AVIXA’s announcement that InfoComm 2021 was rescheduling to October, Blackman released a statement reiterating that ISE 2021 remains scheduled to “open live and online” on 1-4 June 2021 – whilst confirming a deadline of March 1 for potentially cancelling physical attendance. “If circumstances impact our ability to host an in-person event and we are forced to cancel this element of ISE, we will make this decision by 1 March,” he said.

Later, he confirmed that this year’s ISE would indeed be cancelled as a physical event rather than rescheduled, if the organisation was forced to accept that Barcelona couldn’t go ahead. “Categorically, there is no point in postponing. If we move, it means we are moving to February 2022,” he was reported as saying, explaining that rescheduling this year’s event would be too disruptive to the industry.

In the event of cancellation of the physical event, Blackman reportedly said that Integrated Systems Events might consider running smaller-scale satellite events in key cities alongside a virtual ISE, although the organisation’s priority is “safety for our customers”.

ISE attendees were invited to ‘have their say’ on ISE on February 3, when the organisation distributed an e-survey. Questions included ‘are you personally ready to fly again?’ and ‘do you feel ready to attend live / physical trade shows again?’. Presumably the results of this survey will inform decisions made by March 1.