Bilbao Exhibition Centre had an economic impact on the GDP of over 156 million Euros in 2023 thanks to the celebration of a total of 224 events. By business line, 34 corresponded to the Exhibitions and Events category, 164 to Conventions and 26 to Bizkaia Arena. There is no doubt that this was a year of intense activity for the Basque centre, which ended with the participation of 902,741 visitors and an occupation of space of 315 days. As a result of this rate of activity, there was an estimated tax revenue of over 29.9 million euros for the Basque Treasury together with the creation of 3053 jobs.

In the Exhibitions and Events area, BEC confirmed a number of different emblematic events and introduced innovative events in which 2705 exhibiting companies took part. The celebration of +INDUSTRY was a turning point in the calendar. This business forum hosted the simultaneous celebration of industrial fairs of reference in their respective sectors, including ADDITꜪD, BeDIGITAL, Maintenance, Pumps&Valves, Subcontracting and WORKinn. In addition, events such as Steel Tech; World Maritime Week; Basque Open Industry; Empack and Logistics & Automation Bilbao; Euskoener; Expocadena; Food4Future and Intergraf occupied an important position in the programming of professional events.

At the same time, BEC offered a full programme to the general public, with events including the Children’s Christmas Park; Creative Trends; Outlet Fair; Japan Weekend; Antiques Fair; Expovacations; FVO-Second hand Car Fair; Euskal Encounter; Bioculture; Celebra! and Retroclásica Bilbao.

In turn, BEC Conventions hosted a wide range of events, largely driven by the significant rise in business tourism taking place in recent years. Ranging from congresses, exhibitions and conventions, to business meetings, film productions and government exams… the list of formats grows every year. Of note in 2023 were renowned events such as the World Bank’s Innovate4Climate; Iberquimia; SME Assembly; EEN Annual Conference; the meetings of the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, and the shooting of the second part of the film “The Platform”; the sports event Hyrox and the press and logistics centre for the Grand Départ of the Tour de Francia.

Continuing with digital transformation, ensuring an excellent experience for users and strengthening the contribution to the sustainability of the local and global environment were, and remain, crucial elements of the strategic approach of BEC in 2023. In fact, this last point has a route sheet that revolves around nine lines of action: energy, waste, mobility, equality, RSC, digitalisation, legacy, providers and awareness. In line with this vision, BEC has introduced specific measures to reduce their environmental footprint, in particular the recent expansion of its photovoltaic solar power plant, which has incorporated 1800 new panels for generating electricity with a total power of one megawatt.


2024: innovation and international projection on its 20th anniversary

Behind the Bilbao Exhibition Centre calendar lies a work plan whose goal is to link the centre’s activity to strategic sectors with a high level of innovation. As a result of this commitment and to coincide with the year in which BEC celebrates its 20th anniversary, various international events in the energy sector have been programmed, including the EHEC-European Hydrogen Energy Conference or the WindEurope Annual Event. These will appear in the calendar alongside other events from priority areas such as advanced manufacturing. One such event is the 32nd edition of BIEMH-International Machine Tool Biennial which, together with ADDITꜪD, BeDIGITAL and WORKinn, will offer a window to the future that will immerse visitors and exhibitors from all over the world in a top level industrial environment.

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