All this is great news for Madrid because of IFEMA’s driving effect on many sectors of the economy. The pinnacle will come in May with FITUR, which is even more significant this year as a champion of international mobility - this being the first European in-person fair of its size - and as a public service, symbolising the recovery of the tourism industry.
Although unable to operate as usual, IFEMA has used this time and its expertise to develop new ways of creating value for companies and for society. Furthering the digitalisation process has allowed it to explore new possibilities and harness new benefits.
Despite the pandemic, it has made great efforts to speed up the digitalisation of fairs and events, and to maintain its position as an economic catalyst capable of activating business opportunities and knowledge. Hence the work to design the features of a platform to bring together supply and demand in numerous sectors.
One example was the fully digital FRUIT ATTRACTION LIVEConnect, a real success story that proved capable of mobilising contacts, closing deals and generating future expectations. A total of 16 virtual fairs in this format are ready to be rolled out during 2021, one of which - interSICOP LIVEConnect - is underway right now.
This digital development has been possible thanks to the transformation project which started in 2020, but which has really taken off during the last twelve months. More than a third of IFEMA's workforce has been working on this project, with interesting initiatives to develop proprietary digital platforms and new value-added services, as well as a business intelligence project, among others.
According to IFEMA President José Vicente de los Mozos, the hope brought by vaccines and falling infection rates has prompted IFEMA, “to make faster progress towards its goal to lift the ERTE affecting the workforce, scheduling a de-escalation and planning to hold all the events programmed for this year, circumstances permitting”. The three-stage process will start in mid-March with the return of 40 people. By April 05, 90 percent of the IFEMA workforce will be back, joined by their remaining colleagues on May 04.”