Barcelona 2021: Diversified finds a new home for Seafood Expo Global

Published on
September 17, 2019

Earlier today, event organizer Diversified Communications announced that Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global would be moving to Barcelona, Spain, starting with the trade show’s 2021 edition. Liz Plizga, the vice president of seafood expositions at Diversified, sat down with SeafoodSource to discuss in-depth some of the more pressing questions about the move and the overall process of finding a new home for the world’s leading global seafood event.     

SeafoodSource: Why did Diversified choose to relocate Seafood Expo Global to Barcelona in 2021?

Plizga: As event organizers, we are constantly monitoring attendee and exhibitor satisfaction. Based on feedback over the years, we decided to engage a third-party research firm to help assess the best location for the expo. 

Looking for a new home for an event the size of Seafood Expo Global and Seafood Processing global is a challenging task. As we began to evaluate options, we had to consider the timing of the show in reference to availability at various venues, the size of venues, hotel inventory, and accessibility. We chose Barcelona based on the size and capabilities of the city as a major international destination for trade events and Fira de Barcelona, being a modern and innovative venue. The city is used to hosting large global events and can address the complex challenges that come with hosting those events. Barcelona has a larger hotel inventory with more options, which was helpful in securing reasonable rates for our visitors and exhibitors. 

SeafoodSource: What was the reason for the move?

Plizga: In the long term, we are simply outgrowing Brussels. The event continues to put pressure on the infrastructure – from hotels to restaurants – and there are limited viable options for long term growth at the Brussels Expo. When we conducted the research, it corroborated the event’s impact on the city and the necessity to find a location with more options for our customers. 

SeafoodSource: What benefits will exhibitors, attendees, and the organizers see as a result of the change in location for the event?

Plizga: Exhibitors will find a great value for their investment in the city and up-to-date services at the venue, with a simple layout lending itself to excellent exhibition traffic flow. Attendees will be able to take advantage of lower hotel rates with a variety of options. Hotel rates are less than they have been used to, making it easier for attendees to stay in the city. Of course, the weather should be warmer with so many attractions, restaurants, and experiences.  

SeafoodSource: Were any other sites besides Barcelona considered? Did Brussels make any effort to keep the event there?

Plizga: Yes, we evaluated all major venues in Europe that could accommodate the size and timing of the event. Of course, Brussels did their best to keep Seafood Expo Global and Seafood Processing Global in the city and at the end of the day, we had to make the difficult decision based on future growth. 

SeafoodSource: Will the general timing of the event change? In other words, will SEG still be held in late April/early May? Did you consider changing the dates at all?

Plizga: We thought about a variety of options, but it is very important for us to maintain the same time of year given the exceptionally busy event calendar for the global seafood industry.  The late April/early May timeframe sets Seafood Expo Global and Seafood Processing Global apart by a month normally from Seafood Expo North America and Seafood Processing North America, and it resides before major European and worldwide holidays. 

SeafoodSource: Did complaints about the affordability of Brussels play a role in the decision? How about the city’s accessibility?

Plizga: We’ve listened to complaints about hotel rates, taxis, and restaurants in Brussels over the years and we worked closely with the city, the Brussels Expo, and the Brussels Booking Desk (our hotel booking partner) to combat this, and many programs were very successful. In the end, when we looked at where the event was going for the next phase of its life, it was evident that we needed more space. We are very appreciative of the support we received in Brussels and will sincerely miss the close relationships we have built there over the past 28 years. 

SeafoodSource: Are there enough hotels nearby the event space to accommodate attendees in Barcelona? Is there an adequate transportation infrastructure there to handle the rush-hour traffic to and from the event? 

Plizga: There are more hotels (about seven) within walking distance to the Fira de Barcelona. Given the size of the event, hotel blocks will be spread out over the city.  We cannot stress enough the importance of exhibitors and attendees booking with our official hotel partner, B-Network, to take advantage of the reasonable rates. As for transportation, the cities’ systems are excellent with a robust metro system and the venue is easily accessible by all forms of transport.

SeafoodSource: Was safety a factor at all? Did the bombings in Brussels a few years ago play any role in Diversified’s decision? How is Barcelona a safer choice than Brussels? Have you been promised any enhanced security from local/Spanish authorities?

Plizga: No, the bombings in Brussels did not play a role in Diversified’s decision. In fact, Brussels and the venue were amazing partners in addressing security concerns even before the bombings. The response from the police, and the Brussels Expo was exceptional. Unfortunately, these types of events can happen in any city around the world and are not restricted to Brussels. 

We are confident in the ability for the city of Barcelona and Fira de Barcelona to be a strong partner in keeping our community safe. Security is a prominent concern for us as the show organizers. Barcelona hosts some of the world’s largest global events, like the Mobile World Congress, and they have a great deal of experience, to say the least, in these matters. Our contacts with Fira de Barcelona, the city, and local authorities understand the complex needs of the event and take it very seriously. It’s one of the reasons we were so happy to choose Barcelona as the next venue for Seafood Expo Global and Seafood Processing Global. 

SeafoodSource: What do you expect the reaction of exhibitors to be?

Plizga: Exhibitors will be happy and understand the reasoning behind the decision. Many have asked for a move for years. The timing makes sense to make this shift now. 

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