Sunday 8 December 2019

Hoteliers ring up the price hikes at Mobile World Congress

A boy tests the 'Oculus VR' virtual device, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
A boy tests the 'Oculus VR' virtual device, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Maria Tadeo and Sharon Smyth

The Majestic, a luxury hotel in central Barcelona, is bumping up room prices by two-thirds as delegates including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg troop into Spain's second city for the annual Mobile World Congress.

"This is the biggest week of the year for hoteliers," said Santiago Martin, communications manager for the Majestic Hotel Group. The hotel, which normally charges €300 a night for a standard room, will charge €500 as the annual gathering of the mobile industry draws almost 100,000 visitors, he said.

Barcelona's tourism and conference trade is proving a bonanza for its hoteliers as economic growth lures business at the same time that the City Hall is trying to limit the number of visitors.

Mayor Ada Colau, elected last year on a platform with anti-austerity party Podemos, has frozen new hotel licences for a year to slow tourist numbers.

The Mobile World Congress last year attracted more than 94,000 attendees from 200 countries. Over 3,800 journalists covered the event attended by 2,200 companies. This year's keynote speakers include Zuckerberg, Vodafone Group chief executive Vittorio Colao and Ford boss Mark Fields.

The opening of the week-long congress was marred by a subway strike in central Barcelona, with underground services due to be cut by half during peak hours. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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