Visitors take pictures of a ZTE drum robot at the 2019 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 25, 2019. The four-day 2019 MWC opened on Monday in Barcelona. (Xinhua/Guo Qiuda)
BARCELONA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The 2019 edition of MWC Barcelona, formerly known as Mobile World Congress, opened here on Monday, promising to provide an economic boost to this city in the northeast of Spain.
The event's organizers, GSMA, expect the event to generate 473 million euros (537.5 million U.S. dollars) in revenues for Barcelona from a combination of hotel and apartment reservations, restaurants, bars and taxis.
The Barcelona hotel owners' guild reported in the Spanish newspaper Expansion that during the four-day event from Feb. 25 to 28, the occupancy rate in the city's hotels will be almost 100 percent. An estimated 110,000 people are expected to visit the exhibition, which the mobile telecommunications industry considers the most important event of the year.
According to Expansion, billings for hotel reservations related to the event totalled 117.7 million euros, with 27,000 rooms block-booked by GSMA -- the same number as during the previous year's MWC.
The Barcelona Association of Tourist Apartments (Apartur) predicts that 95 percent of the city's tourist apartments will also be rented out during the week, at an average rate of 359 euros per night.
The organization said that the majority of those renting apartments come from China, the UK and the United States. Airbnb rentals have increased by 350 percent in the past six years.
The combination of over 100,000 visitors and the warm weather forecast in Barcelona for the week will also have a positive effect on bar and restaurant performance.
The Catalan Nightlife Association expects revenues to (FECASARM) reach 56 million euros, twice the 2018 figure. A year ago, Barcelona suffered four days of unseasonably cold and wet weather that kept people away from the city's numerous bars and terraces.
According to the report, around 25 percent of the money spent by visitors during the MWC will go to bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
The MWC has been held in Barcelona since 2006 and is guaranteed to remain in the city until at least 2023. This year's event is bigger that ever, covering 120,000 square meters at the Fira de Barcelona exhibition center, 5,000 square meters more than last year.