Thursday, February 9, 2012

Transport Strike threatens smooth run of 3GSM

With Spain facing a tough 2012 by all accounts, it was with great joy that the majority of businesses wiped their brow with relief when last summer, the World Mobile Congress decided to stay in Barcelona for its annual get together, rather than move cities as had been feared. The Congress injects a great deal of must needed cash into the city, and whilst the main winners are the hosteleria industry, it also goes a long way to promoting Barcelona on the world stage.

Each year, the congress has gone from strength to strength with keynote speakers for all of the biggest names in Mobile technology (actually over 800) as well as CEO of Google, for example. With 120 million Euros floating around to fund the congress, you can see the benefits outweigh the investment. Indeed, this year organisers are
expecting a 40% increase in visitors - surpassing the 60,000 mark.
The World Mobile Congress is held at the Fira de Barcelona

However, not everyone is happy about the arrival of the world's eyes on the Catalan Capital, and transport union along with TMB have decided to strike from the 27th February till the 1st March - the exact dates of the conference. There was a proposal to only strike for the 27th, but finally it was agreed to go whole hog and do the full confrernce dates. Some of the many complaints about the conference in previous years  - apart from security on the city streets - have been precisely about the lack of taxis to ferry people to and from La Fira. Last year saw extra taxis put on in an attempt to keep the flow of visitors running. Obviuosly this is a blow not only to the organisers of the conference but also the city council who have criticised the move claiming it will damage the brand identity of Barcelona - something the tourism board has been working on intensively for over two years.

I can completely understand both sides to the story and suspect the strikes will give rise to make people taking advantage of the situation in illegal taxi services for example, given the level of unemployment and opportunity. What do you think about the planned strikes? Can the city be held to ransom by TMB like the air traffic controllers a few years back?  Do you have anyone directly affected by the proposed strikes? Surely schools and work places will suffer as a result? Can an agreement be made before then? Let me know your comments, I'd love to hear.

Coming to Barcelona this cold spell? Check out these Barcelona apartments as a great alternative to city hotels. And for a quick flick through of what's to see and not to miss, check out this Barcelona Guide.


Anonymous said...

The GSMA shouls analyse to move MWC in safer place -whithout STRIKES - (Ex Munchen a.o.) BEGINNING WITH 2013

David Brydon said...

Thanks for the comment!! I'm not sure how you think that strikes are unsafe, but we're all entitled to our opinions. I for one, hope it doesn't go to Munich and stays in Barcelona for a long time!

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