The GSMA is moving forward with plans to hold its flagship MWC Barcelona event in-person after the Spanish Government agreed to grant travel authorization to those registered for the conference. Entry to Spain is currently restricted to those in the European Union, but the Ministry of the Interior is able to grant exceptions to ‘highly qualified workers’ from abroad.
The agency’s latest decision will extend those privileges to all MWC participants, providing clearance for all exhibitors and sponsors in addition to registered attendees. Those who wish to make the trip to Spain will first need to register with the GSMA, and the GSMA will share the necessary travel information directly with the Spanish Government. After that, guests will receive MWC Barcelona 2021 Attendance Confirmation, and are advised to keep that Confirmation with them when they apply for a visa and head to the event.
The Spanish Government reserves the right to bar entry to people from select high-risk countries, though it is expected to welcome visitors from China and the United States. The GSMA acknowledged that there are still health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, but stressed that it is working with all of the relevant authorities to facilitate a safe event.
In that regard, the organization noted that February’s live MWC Shanghai went off without a hitch. The organization tested every in-person attendee, and did not report a single confirmed case of COVID-19 at any point before, during, or after the event. However, the GSMA will still be offering virtual MWC Barcelona programming to support those who are either unwilling or unable to make the trip themselves.
“The health and safety of everyone involved in MWC Barcelona, both in Spain and beyond, continues to be our utmost priority as we navigate rapidly shifting circumstances,” said GSMA CEO John Hoffman. “This decision is a resounding vote of confidence in the careful planning undertaken to date, and our strong partnership with the Host City Parties. We will continue to work closely with our partners to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience.”
MWC Barcelona 2020 was one of the first major events that was cancelled in the early stages of the pandemic. The 2021 event is currently scheduled to run from June 28 to July 1.