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The legacy of a mega event like ISE on the local destination: a case study

The legacy of a mega event like ISE on the local destination: a case study

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Paula Rey
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Legacy is the obsession of our industry today, something logical since it makes our industry change dimension, and not only gather the event’s participants… but leave a durable impact on the destination. Our belief is that tomorrw’s events will be even more important for destinations, for their ability to stimulate economic activity, establish synergies with local players, generate investments in the destination, have a social impact, develop and transmit culture, and many more. Case in point: one of the most important events in the world, ISE, takes place in Barcelona and has had this focus on connecting with local society. We talked to them… and are more convinced than ever of the power of events.

This year, the activities connecting the show to the city were more significant than ever. We go through the main ones.

A huge economic impact. ISE contributed with €385 million to Barcelona’s economy, according to a study of its 2023 edition. This encompasses a direct economic impact of €243 million, and an indirect of €142 million. ISE 2023 had a total of 58,107 attendees from 155 different countries, who spent a total of €130 million during their time in the city.

Companies opening a branch in Barcelona. The arrival of ISE to the city in 2021 has also played an important role in positioning Barcelona on the audiovisual industry map, taking a lead in promoting the city and drawing new participants to the local ecosystem. Following ISE’s move to Barcelona, a range of AV companies have set up offices in the city, such as B-Tech, Lang, Aztec, Midwich, Lightware, InFiLED or LiveU, thereby enriching the local audiovisual landscape.

Sponsoring local events: Llum BCN’24. ISE has sponsored the Llum BCN’24 light arts festival, a programme of the Institute of Culture of Barcelona and Barcelona City Council, for the third year running. The Llum BCN’24 festival included 46 light installations (13 by international and local artists, 17 from the university schools of architecture and design of Barcelona, and in the +Llum category, 11 installations of the Off Llum alternative circuit and 5 installations of other collaborations).

Offering a show to the city: Sofia Crespo’s mapping. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of ISE and the 200th anniversary of Passeig de Gràcia, ISE sponsored a projection mapping on the façade of the Casa Batlló. The innovative mapping entitled “Structures of Being” at iconic Casa Batlló took place on Saturday 27 January and Sunday 28 January 2024 and showcased the fusion of biological themes and Artificial Intelligence. A way to bring the possibilities of the AV world to local citizens, besides offering a great show to the public.

Beyond the show floor, visiting local talent and innovation in AV. ISE organise tours taking visitors behind the scenes of major AV installations in Barcelona, with the idea of seeing the best audiovisuals in action… where they are implemented in the city. This is a way to connect the show to the activity of the city, give visibility to local talents and innovations. This year, collaborating with the Catalan Audiovisual Cluster, Tech Tours provided an opportunity to witness cutting-edge technologies from the ISE show floor in action. The programme included tours to Plató Nou Virtual Production Studio in El Poblenou neighbourhood, Cines Filmax Gran Via, Tutankhamun The Immersive Experience at IDEAL Barcelona, The Great Library of Tomorrow at Aribau Immersive Space, Data driven art at Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, Digital operating room solution at Bellvitge University Hospital, L’illa Mall Barcelona, Barcelona Supercomputing Center: New MareNostrum 5, Barça Immersive Tour Camp Nou and America’s Cup Experience exhibition in the Port Vell.

Connecting with local educational centres, ISE collaborates with EMAV, the school of Audiovisual Media in Barcelona, which Mike Blackman visited back in Dec 2022.

Connecting with associations representing “client industries” (events, retail, architecture…). This is essential: ISE showcases the best of the AV world… but this innovation has to reach the client industries. A few examples: AFIAL, the Spanish association that brings together manufacturers and importers of audiovisual technology, integrated its AVL SUMMIT into the ISE 2024 programme. Other collaboration partners included players in the talent and HR world (the Impulsa Talentum Foundation), economic stimulation (ACCIO), sports (the Catalan Sports Cluster), culture (Casa Batlló, Joan Miró Museum). Also, CEDIA, co-organizer of ISE, organized a focus group with CODIC (Association of interior designers of Catalonia) to talk to them about the show & technology in the home.

Connection with startups / opportunities for startups. The Catalonia Pavilion at ISE 2024 hosted local businesses active in the AV industry as well as highlighting business growth opportunities. It was also the location of the ISE Open Innovation Challenge, hosted by ACCIÓ (the Catalonia Trade & Investment Agency) and Enterprise Europe Network. The Challenge is a hybrid matchmaking service that connects technology providers with Catalan corporations looking to purchase solutions. Also in Congress Square the Barcelona City Council hosted local start-ups and the Catalan Audiovisual Cluster. And the Plug and Play Stage is a dynamic space where attendees can find different talks from the big players in the industry, sharing the latest scoop on investment strategies and game-changing innovations.

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