Cruising into Catalonia’s capital for World Routes 2017

The largest commercial aviation event in the world will head to Spain next year when World Routes 2017 takes place in Barcelona.

Barcelona has become a major tourist draw since hosting the Olympic games in 1992. Between 1990 and 2014 the number of visitors increased from 1.7 million to more than 7.8 million and there is no indication that the growth will slow down. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia which is one of Spain’s richest and most highly industrialised regions, contributing towards 25% of the nation’s GDP.

The Government of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council will be hosting the aviation industry’s top decision makers at World Routes 2017, putting Barcelona El Prat Airport in a strong position to build on the growth of its passenger numbers. The main base for Spanish carrier Vueling and key network point for Air Europa and Ryanair, the 10th busiest airport in Europe has seen rapid growth since its third runway opened in 2004. Last year it handled a record-breaking 39.7 million passengers which was 5.7% more than 2014.

Barcelona is the fifth origin and destination city in Europe, behind London, Paris, Istanbul and Moscow. Fifteen percent of this is intercontinental traffic. There is huge potential for new routes in the Spanish city as three million indirect long-haul passengers have been identified annually.

The airport’s position is supported by Barcelona’s status as the busiest cruise port in Europe. Over 80% of cruise passengers fly to their embarkation port, so World Routes will offer delegates the opportunity to understand the opportunities that Barcelona offers as a multi-modal transport hub.

The Catalan government’s minister of territory and sustainability, Santi Vila, said: “Holding World Routes will be Cruising into Catalonia’s capital a huge boost in making Barcelona Airport the hub of Southern Europe. Our position on the map is a competitive advantage.

“It will be a magnificent platform for the economic promotion of the city, of Catalonia and, above all, of its businesses which are involved in the process of internationalisation and conquering foreign markets,” he adds.

Neil Mulligan, Routes’ senior future host manager, says: “It is important with World Routes, our global event, that we return to Europe. Following this year’s event in China, Barcelona will host in 2017 and we are thrilled that such an important city will be the focus." 

“As well as being a major port city, Barcelona is one of the top tier congress cities in the continent – only surpassed by Paris and Vienna. World Routes has not been hosted by a European city since 2011 and we look forward to another great event,” he adds.

Next year’s event is expected to attract more than 3,500 delegates representing 350 airlines, 1,000 airports and 300 tourism authorities from more than 125 countries.

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This article is modified from an original feature that appeared in...

ROUTES NEWS - ISSUE 6, 2016 

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