Narcís Ferrer, Director of the Catalan Tourist Board, at the presentation of the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau
A European programme endowed with 4.2 million euros aimed at transforming the professional conference sector in Europe. This is the initiative that the Catalan Tourist Board (ACT) will pilot, as it announced at the IBTM World tourism fair last November.
Up to €30,000 per company for 80 SMEs – 15 of which are Catalan – is the grant that applicants will be able to receive when the programme's call for applications opens in 2025. The condition will be that they are private initiatives offering innovative solutions for corporate events.
This project aims to empower SMEs that promote sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience in their practices. Its goal is to ensure Europe’s future as a leading destination for environmentally and socially responsible business events.
Soon, BEFuture will also present a market place with visibility at the European level where the conference sector can showcase its projects. Furthermore, a training itinerary will be launched for companies wishing to specialise in sustainable business tourism.
BEFuture has been promoted and coordinated by the ACT through its Catalonia Convention Bureau programme, and will drive innovation and collaboration within the professional events industry with this acceleration programme that supports small and medium-sized enterprises.
The BEFuture project has been subsidised by the European Union's Single Market programme and is part of creating a network of partners spread across the continent, including convention bureaus, business organisations, and research centres. All of these are exploring alternative tourism business models that are environmentally and socially responsible.
Catalonia, a global powerhouse in conference tourism
Professional conference tourism has become a fundamental pillar for the economic development and international projection of Catalonia. In terms of figures, the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) sector recovered in 2022, a year in which Barcelona came top globally in the number of international congress attendees and fourth in total conferences hosted.
As a whole, Catalonia welcomed 1.3 million business visitors who spent more than €1.5 billion. Historically, Barcelona has been among the top five destinations in the professional conference industry for over 20 years.
In this context, the BEFuture programme will be an opportunity to consolidate initiatives in the professional conference tourism sector that focus on environmentally and socially responsible business practices.
Stand of the Catalan Tourist Board at the IBTM World fair