As the organizer of the event, the GSM Association has decided to cancel the Mobile World Congress. The event was set to take place in Barcelona between February 24th until the 27th. Over a week ago companies and exhibitors had begun opting out of the show due to the threat of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Host City of Barcelona will miss out on enormous revenues and up to 14,100 part-time jobs that would be generated from welcoming so many incoming guests for their yearly exhibition. While missing out on such a positive economic impact, the parties involved understand that the GSMA had no other choice but to cancel the event entirely.
The cancellation will minimize the possibility of the virus plaguing the currently healthy environment of the host city. Additionally, if the event were to continue there would have been countless alterations to how it would have been operated. Attendees would have been hesitant to network amongst themselves, shake hands or anything that may typically occur during one of the world’s largest technology events. It saves attendees from distress about being in a setting that contains many travelers that put them at risk of contracting the virus. Unfortunately, many exhibitors put up considerable amounts of resources on costs affiliated with this event. Such as Connectlab, who spent about 50,000 euros and will not have any reimbursements. On top of the monetary loss that they incur, they won’t have the opportunity to meet customers and display their products at an event that provides as much exposure as MWC. But for many, health is more important than business.
With the coronavirus now being confirmed to have had at least 42,000 infected, and a death toll rising to above 1,000 it’s no surprise that its catching global attention. The majority of the cases and fatalities are in the epi-center of Wuhan. But, there have now been a reported 25 countries that have cases of the virus. GSMA made the right decision by trying to avoid the vastly spreading sickness.
The annual event will surely continue in the coming years. GSMA will need to do its best to ensure that the largest mobile phone event (MWC) carries its value by showing its importance to all attendees. The worst-case scenario for GSMA would be losing all momentum and for this untimely crisis to create a ripple effect for future shows. Especially with some companies and exhibitors who are already questioning if it’s feasible to attend next year as they have already lost money this year and unsure if they get enough value from MWC. One thing is certain, the GSMA will be tirelessly strategizing and will do whatever it takes to make a strong comeback for the Mobile World Congress in 2021.