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I have been attending IBTM World since they came to Barcelona in 2004. I have never missed one edition and I must admit that in 2020 I missed it. I missed meeting up with my industry friends, meeting new ones and especially seeing the new trends and discovering the latest updates.
Finally, it happened! Back to meeting in person at the end of November 2021, even though the actual travel restrictions due to the pandemic.I chatted with Vasyl Zhygalo the portfolio director of IBTM Events and he assured that they are very happy to be in Barcelona and that IBTM is remaining here as they see exhibitors and visitors are happy coming back to the Catalan capital.
It has been announced that IBTM expands to Asia-Pacific, to Singapore from the 5th to the 6th of April 2022, and Vasyl told me this was planned before the pandemic. Can’t wait to explore the MICE world in Asia from Singapore.
Vasyl follows up regularly with customers and Hosted Buyers to see the most important trends and research through often conversation. Safety has played a major role during last IBTM World and the COVID-19 passport has been requested at the entrance of the venue at Fira Barcelona.
Vasyl Zhygalo has been an event organiser most of his career so he knows what a Hosted Buyer is looking for and can provide new angles to IBTM‘s porfolio of events. He said that IBTM is there to serve the industry and to help to recover.It has been the first face-to-face event in the IBTM portfolio in two years, a huge success by organisers, especially considering the current circumstances and some banned travel lanes. I missed some of my favorite countries and at the same time I am so thankful for the effort the exhibitors made this year.
The figures:
– Over 30,000 pre-scheduled one-to-one business meetings
– 7.000 attendees
– 1.200 exhibitors from 70 countries
– Over 1.400 Hosted Buyers from 72 countriesOnce again, we all went paperless and online as much as possible with the useful IBTM World App: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, encouraging peer to peer learning and sharing of best practices, and delivering tangible solutions to real issues facing the associations and events sector.
My IBTM highlights:

Discover Moscow

The Stand Awards returned this year with awards going to Discover Moscow, who won the award for Best Large Stand. For instance the huge lamps featured significant art works from the Russian history and reminded an Hermès foulard, all designed by talented Sergey Meshalkin. I loved it.
I can’t wait to go back to Moscow. Meanwhile, here you can check out some of the best Convention Centers in Moscow.


Rwanda: is a country known for its breath taking scenery, often referred to as the land of a thousand hills. Its capital Kigali has been ranked the second most popular destination in Africa. During IBTM I learnt about the new convention centre Intare, which opened in 2020. Truly with remarkable architecture and ready to receive big events.
Vaccination rate in Rwanda is 91% so surely it is one of the safest countries.
I definitely want to visit and share my views and experiences.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau’s Al Nukhba is a Business Elite Programme; an initiative to gather like-minded, in order to co-ordinate efforts to secure convention business for Abu Dhabi. Working in partnership with the Convention Bureau, the Business Elite’s – which include academic professionals, scientists and researchers, specialists in all fields of expertise, including doctors, government officials and business leaders – create collaboration and bid development strategies aimed at increasing the number of international conventions held in the UAE capital. The perfect key and partner to the Emirate.


France: being one of my favorite stands in IBTM, totally sustainable, France presented their campaign Meet, Share and Reconnect in order to focus for recovery. Establish new partnerships, develop expertise, keep up to date with new developments and successes, instil confidence, strengthen links, and provide an opportunity to relax. As many opportunities exist for you to #choosefrance for your event as there are many destinations in France to host them.

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg: one of my favorite cities in Europe, to me it is one of the perfect places to organise an event with great venues and unique experiences for post-congress tours or fabulous evenings.
Can’t wait to be back!


Sardinia: the most authentic Mediterranean island and apart from being a world class leisure destination, safe and easily accessible, Sardinia is experiencing a steady growth of  business tourism, offering a wide range of conference centres, meeting halls and hotels, therefore becoming a thriving MICE venue.


Singapore: it is the hosting country of the first IBTM Asia Pacific: I have been to Singapore 14 times and I know some of its great venues and besides prioritising safety and security, Singapore has multiple award-winning innovative event spaces. The team of Visit Singapore is truly helpful to ensure your event is successful and memorable. 

I am truly happy to have attended another IBTM Event and in quite challenging circumstances and becoming a successful event.