In an exceptional year, the institution recorded its best-ever income growth to 187.7 million euros, increasing turnover by 90.3% compared to 2021. EBITDA reached 20.4 million euros - These results come as market recognition of the IFEMA Madrid's global leadership in recovering the trade fair and congress activity in 2021 and 2022 - The decision to hold FITUR in the middle of the pandemic had a tractor effect, enabling a total of 105 trade fairs and congresses, nearly 400 events and conventions and 21 leisure and music events. IFEMA Madrid brought together 21,360 companies and 3.7 million visitors during the year.
The President of the Executive Committee of IFEMA Madrid, José Vicente de los Mozos, announced IFEMA Madrid’s economic and activity result during 2022 today after the institution’s Governing Board approval. The year was an exceptional one which, despite the difficulties, was the best ever in the history of IFEMA Madrid. After driving and restoring its activity, it managed to close the year with its best-ever results. A turnover of 187.7 million euros, the highest ever achieved, and an EBITDA of 20.4 million euros.
IFEMA Madrid’s decision to be the only international organisation to keep the entire trade fair calendar in place despite the uptick of the Omicron variant in early 2022 - in contrast to other trade fairs in Europe and around the world, which postponed their operations until the second or third quarter of the year - was a decisive factor in achieving such exceptional results. These show that the market recognises IFEMA Madrid's global leadership in recovering the trade fair and congress sector in 2021 and 2022.
In this regard, taking 2021 as a reference, a year in which the institution also made significant efforts to operate some of the key trade fairs on its calendar, such as FITUR, is even more notable than the result in 2022, increasing income by up to 90.3%.
In terms of activity, the organiser's efforts to restore the trade fair calendar allowed it to hold 105 fairs and congresses, 28 of which were held digitally through the LIVE Connect platform, almost 400 events and conventions and 21 entertainment events and music festivals. These activities attracted 21,360 companies and 3.7 million visitors, confirming the tractor effect of holding FITUR in the throes of the pandemic and the call to economic sectors to return to normality.
In fact, in 2022, almost all the fairs marked on the calendar took place, some with better-than-expected results. One of these was Fruit Attraction which, together with FITUR, ranked top of the income table.
Despite a difficult context, 2022 saw the creation of new trade fair projects such as Global Mobility Call, a major congress plus exhibition supported by the Spanish government and the Community and Council of Madrid, designed to spearhead the process of transformation toward sustainable mobility; Helixa Summit focused on investigating the opportunities of the metaverse for the growth of the business sector, and Accountex España, a new event specialised in the digitising of the administrative process and accountancy for advisors, lawyers and SMEs.
The use of IFEMA Madrid's infrastructures during off-peak times, such as the month of December, to hold entertainment events, company celebrations and other events for the public also contributed to the results and the general recovery of the leisure industry.
Added to this, there was an exceptional event, the production of the NATO Summit on the orders of the Spanish government, held on the Recinto Ferial in June, which gave an economic boost to the 2022 results and the organisation's reputation, establishing yet again that IFEMA Madrid is a global benchmark when it comes to staging major global events, as happened with the COP 25.
The Strategic Plan, a key factor of the recovery
The successful implementation of the Strategic Plan designed by IFEMA Madrid in 2022 is focused on three key areas such as diversification, internationalisation, and digitalisation has been crucial in the process of recovering the business, as well as in the company’s transformation project.
Entertainment, a new line of business
In 2022, the Entertainment and Public Events Area, where IFEMA Madrid focuses its diversification, was a massive success. This new line of activity covers the dual objective of adding value to the business with new lines of income and earning profits from the facilities, mainly at off-peak times.
In fact, in 2022, 21 major entertainment events, musical events, festivals, concerts and exhibitions took place in 2022, attracting 1.1 million visitors. Among the highest-impact events were the international tour of Swedish House Mafia, the Love the Twenties and Love the 90s festivals, and the major Hangar 52 Revolution magic show, each of which received almost 30,000 visitors; also hosting permanent events in the cultural life of Madrid such as Malinche, with 80,000 attendees and the WAH Show, with more than 250,000.
Internationalisation and expansion projects
In 2022, despite the general context, IFEMA Madrid managed to make significant progress with the international projects in its strategic plan.
In this area, it diversified its areas of business in three lines of action. Firstly, it aimed to attract top-tier international events like the NATO Summit and the World Dog Show, dog breeders’ biggest competition with 55,000 participants and 16,500 pedigree dogs. In this regard, IFEMA Madrid also championed the return of major in-person international congresses, with a total of ten events, many of them in the scientific-medical area, positioning it as a global benchmark. These included the prestigious Heart Failure Congress by the European Cardiology Society (4,000 attendees) and the World ATM Congress, the leading aviation fair (7,000 attendees), among others. This work garnered the international prize as the Best Congress Site in Europe for IFEMA MADRID.
The international strategy also entails attracting interesting foreign companies and international visitors to our trade fairs and launching a network of IFEMA Madrid regional offices abroad. In this regard, the 2022 results show international participation figures of around 17% in terms of international exhibitors and 11% of foreign visitors.
The third line of action in the international area is expansion projects, both for creating fairs in collaboration with local operators and in strategic consultancy for creating and managing trade fair facilities. In the expansion projects chapter, it is worth mentioning the agreement reached with CORFERIAS, the largest operator and congress centre in Colombia, for the joint organisation of events in the country, as well as the advice provided to the Dominican Republic for its new Exhibition Centre in Santo Domingo.
Digitalisation and innovation
In 2022, technology and innovation were confirmed as pillars of the Strategic and Transformative Plan of IFEMA Madrid, both from the point of view of the business with the organisation of hybrid and virtual events and from an operational standpoint.
In this area, developments like the LIVE Connect platform, a virtual community with 300,000 visitors, and a 365-day-a-year project were launched as a cloud-based fair to connect supply and demand. Also, throughout 2022, we launched our own solutions, such as Visual Space, to digitise the production of physical events with 2D and 3D maps containing geopositioning information. Other initiatives, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) were carried out via Salesforce with five simultaneous functional clouds.
In addition to this is the research work carried out by the IFEMA LAB Technological Laboratory, which carries out investigations into augmented fair applications and which already has several patents in cases of using augmented reality for mixed and hybrid experiences.
The IFEMA Madrid website also represents a key objective and the gateway to the company’s activity and business. In this context, 16,705,763 sessions were logged in 2022, representing an increase of 59% over the previous year.
Investment in talent
The pandemic has also been driving IFEMA Madrid's cultural transformation and structural reorganisation in line with the needs of the Strategic Plan and the process of adaptation to digital processes, cultural change and the management of new platforms and tools.
Throughout 2022, around 40 recruits, highly specialised in customer management and data management tools, such as ticketing, digital content generation, CRM, digital trade fair marketing, etc., have joined the workforce to attract talent and adapt the structure of IFEMA Madrid to new organisational, strategic, and business requirements.
Likewise, the new organisational structure has the same objective of adding value to the strategic plan and optimising resources, processes, and lines of business, bringing in new professionals to IFEMA Madrid with major international experience, and focusing on entertainment management, the main line of diversification.
A unique project, Madrid Turismo by IFEMA Madrid
The 2022 financial year also saw the launch of Madrid Turismo by IFEMA Madrid, A new project promoted by the Community of Madrid and Madrid City Council to design and launch a plan aimed at promoting and enhancing the international tourist positioning of Madrid as a long-haul destination with a public-private collaboration strategy aimed at attracting long-stay tourists with great spending power. This strategy targets the markets of the United States and Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Sustainability has undoubtedly a crosscutting objective in all activities at IFEMA Madrid, which has achieved some important milestones throughout these years, and which in 2022 yielded the following data:
The ratio of CO2, Scope 1 and 2 emissions have been reduced by 90% in the last 6 years, 83% of the waste generated by the trade fair activity is recycled, and in the last five years, the ratio of natural gas consumption has been reduced by 42%, electricity by 33%, and water consumption by 40%.
The good progress made with the business in the last year, coupled with the strategic and transformation projects now underway, has affected the budgets of IFEMA Madrid for 2023, whose economic forecasts stand at a total of 185.2 million turnover, maintaining the levels of turnover and profitability of the previous year. These expectations are especially valuable since no major one-off events like COP 25 or the NATO Assembly in 2022 are scheduled for 2023, and this year it will host a significantly smaller number of biennial fairs.
Likewise, in terms of activity, the venue is expecting 109 fairs and congresses throughout the year, four meetings abroad, 31 leisure and musical performances, and more than 445 events and conventions.
New Catering Project 2023
On the other hand, among the new projects we are working on in 2023 is the new catering strategy that will be operated by areas and that will have 32 catering establishments, as well as spacious, inviting terraces planned throughout the venue, in a transformation that will start taking shape in September.
It is a project in line with the transformation process of the institution with which IFEMA Madrid makes a qualitative leap in its catering offer, positioning itself as a gastronomic benchmark in the trade fair sector. The aim of transforming the food and beverage side of IFEMA Madrid and contributing to the design of the venues as a gastronomic hub in Madrid with a unique proposal, totally upgraded and based on a combination of famous international brands and local concepts designed exclusively for this space.
In addition, the new IFEMA Madrid restaurant project will be supported by major gastronomic sponsors, which will be the companies of beer, soft drinks, and coffee, with help from Mahou San Miguel, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and L’OR.