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Meetings tourism falls by 90% and culture and leisure, by 80% in Destination Barcelona in 2020

24/11/2021 - 12:00h

The OTB publishes the complete report of the tourism activity in Barcelona in 2020

  • This release, which is added to the previously published 3 capsules of the report, presents four new chapters: Meetings and fair activity, International positioning, Culture and leisure, and General information about Barcelona.
  • In 2020, mobility regulations and limitations on people gatherings caused a drop in the meetings tourism activity of greater than -90%.
  • The international positioning of Destination Barcelona has been lower than in 2019, due to a fall in tourist activity, more pronounced than the other destinations’.
  • Cultural, natural, and leisure facilities suffered falls of almost -80% in the number of visitors.


The Barcelona Tourism Observatory presents the full report on Tourism Activity in Barcelona 2020, a report that reflects an exceptional exercise in tourism activity in the Barcelona Destination, due to the temporary or permanent closure of tourist accommodation and cultural facilities and the cancellation and postponement of meetings, fairs, and cultural and sports events. These conditions have caused a challenge in both the collection and in the presentation of the 2020 data. It should be taken into account that the decline in the annual global data presented has been moderated because of the recorded upward results that were registered during the first quarter, which were opposed to those obtained during the following months.

This report includes 4 new chapters to the previously released capsules: Meetings and fair activity, International positioning, Culture and leisure, and General information about Barcelona.


Meetings tourism

In 2020, meetings tourism experienced a strong impact due to Covid-19, as restrictive measures included limitations on people gatherings, both personally and professionally.

Consequently, as of February, cancellations and postponements of scheduled events became normal until the end of the year and caused a drop in the activity greater than -90%.

Most congresses, conventions, meetings, and trade shows that were finally held had to be adapted to the circumstances and took place in a virtual or hybrid format, or alternative locations.

Finally, 100 meetings were held, 87.0% of which during the first quarter, bringing together nearly 40,000 delegates. At Fira de Barcelona, ​​just over 45,000 face-to-face visitors were received.


International positioning

In 2020, Barcelona's international position has been lower than in 2019, since the reduction in the tourist activity registered in the Destination has been superior to other tourist destinations.

Thus, in the ranking of total overnight stays in European cities, the 14th position (7 below 2019) has been achieved and, in the ranking of international overnight stays in European cities, the 8th position (3 below 2019).

On the other hand, Destination Barcelona has also dropped positions both in the ranking of cruise passengers in the Mediterranean, where the 1st position has been lost to get the 4th, and in the ranking of passengers at Barcelona Airport, where it has ranked the 10th (4 below 2019).


Culture and leisure

Cultural, natural and leisure facilities, which were affected by the total closure first and by capacity and mobility measures afterward, also suffered a drop in the number of visitors, of almost -80%. Only the first 10 most-visited cultural places of interest of Destination Barcelona lost more than 14 million visitors in one year (-77.2%).

Meanwhile, as of March, most of the sports events had to be cancelled or were held in camera.


More information: Report on Tourism Activity in Barcelona 2020



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