With a contribution to the finances of Madrid in the year 2018 of 4,374 million euros and 26,168 jobs created, IFEMA is consolidated as one of its most important economic drivers. Figures that are derived from a report prepared by KPMG, and that are a consequence of the remarkable increase experienced by IFEMA last year, in which the institution has managed to expand its actions to provide service to 33,203 exhibiting companies -7% more- and 3.6 million visitors, with an increase of 14% on 2017.
The economic repercussion of the fair and congress activity, responsibility of IFEMA, which has grown 25% in terms of income and 40% in terms of employment, thus strongly increases its weight in the GDP of the city, to mean 3.2%, while in the Region they already represent 2.1% of their gross domestic product, in both cases half a point more than the estimate made in the previous study of the consultant.
The balance of IFEMA in 2018 is summarized through parameters never before reached: a total of 119 fairs, 12 of them abroad; 8 large congresses with exhibition, as well as the sum of a multitude of conventions, festivals and leisure shows aimed at professionals and the general public, with the total result of 720 events, 21% more than in 2017. A broad program that has allowed the entity boost its turnover up to 138.5 million euros, growing a 17% on 2017, with an EBITDA of 27.7 million (+ 23%), and double its net profit, to reach 10.8 million euros.
The significant jump in the economic impact of IFEMA's activity in Madrid, in key sectors such as hotels, commerce and transport, has also been reinforced by the greater internationalization of its business. Thus, foreign exhibitors already reach 29% of the total, while visitors are at 12%. An advance that corresponds to the fact that in 2018 Madrid hosted 51% of international fairs in Spain, well above places like Barcelona, with 22%, and Valencia, with 7%.
The stimulus that this contribution of economic value and positioning of Madrid as one of the international leaders in the MICE market means, feeds the IFEMA roadmap, which in 2019 will be visible again with a growth objective that will lead to the entity to invoice 145 million euros, with a business portfolio that will surpass the hundred of fair activities and the 700 events of different nature, in addition to the estimated participation of 35,000 companies and 4 million visitors.
The approved budget for 2019 also confirms the fulfillment of its strategic plan, putting the focus on a complete battery of actions aimed at enhancing the increase of its portfolio of assets (fairs, congresses, external fairs, major events, proposals for leisure, services and projects abroad) and consequently their income, until reaching the figure of 202 million euros in the year 2022. To achieve this goal, IFEMA has also proposed the management of new spaces and the expansion of its current venues . In this line it is worth mentioning the Municipal Conference Center, which since January of this year is the responsibility of IFEMA, as well as the expansion project of IFEMA Valdebebas, whose planning and designs are very advanced, awaiting the administrative green light.
The growth of IFEMA will be established in 2019, according to what has been indicated, in the strength of its fair programming, which will be enriched by the launching of new calls for its own organization or in association with first level partners, in case of MORNING, DIGICOM EXPO, OR ORGANIC FOOD IBERIA + ECOLIVING IBERIA. In another category of events, this year highlights the launch in July of the IFEMA THINKINDS CAMPUS, which seeks to awaken early, through multiple intelligences, the option of undertaking children between 9 and 16 years. The activity also grows thanks to the holding of major world congresses, highlighting one more year the medical sector, which will specifically hold three of the largest in the world in Madrid: EULAR, European League against Rheumatism (15,000 attendees); EADV, Congress of the European Association of Dermatology and Venerology (10,000 attendees), and ERS, International Congress of the European Respiratory Society (18,000 attendees). Repeats in another sectoral area the World Congress of Air Traffic Management (9,000 attendees).
Special mention deserves the contribution of the new lines of activity that have shown great success in the previous year. In fact, only considering the concerts and music festivals, IFEMA has already confirmed for 2019 events that will bring more than half a million people to its facilities, which has led the entity to launch its own ticketing platform for the events of public.
Likewise, IFEMA continues to expand the list of franchise fairs in third countries. This year will be developed in Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Portugal, including two novelties: TRAFIC LATIN AMERICA Y CITIES FORUM (Medellín) and MULAFEST Acapulco, which join ARCO Lisboa and SALÓN LOOK Santiago of Chile.
Excellence in service
With the customer at the center of its activity, and the pursuit of excellence in service, IFEMA continues to make a great investment effort, which is allowing not only a spectacular update and improvement of its facilities, but the acceleration of its digital transformation and of its management model, adapting, as it has done recently, its organizational structure to favor internal talent and the change of business culture. In 2018 investments were made for 18.8 million euros, and in 2019, the investments will total 25 million euros, with projects as relevant as the renewal of led lighting in the whole of the facilities; the digitization of information and advertising media, as well as new investments in the field of security. To this amount will be added the more than 5 million euros that will be allocated to the Municipal Palace throughout the current year, responsibility since this past January of IFEMA.