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Web Summit says Lisbon event may go ahead despite pandemic

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Attendees gather on stage as confetti is dropped during the opening event at the Lisbon Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on Monday, Nov. 6. 2017. Portugal is hoping to bolster its reputation as a startup hub in Europe at a time when political instability in Spain's Catalonia and the U.K.'s decision to exit the European Union are triggering growing interest in the southern European country. Photographer: Daniel Rodrigues/Bloomberg

Attendees gather on stage as confetti is dropped during the opening event at the Lisbon Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on Monday, Nov. 6. 2017. Portugal is hoping to bolster its reputation as a startup hub in Europe at a time when political instability in Spain's Catalonia and the U.K.'s decision to exit the European Union are triggering growing interest in the southern European country. Photographer: Daniel Rodrigues/Bloomberg

Attendees gather on stage as confetti is dropped during the opening event at the Lisbon Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on Monday, Nov. 6. 2017. Portugal is hoping to bolster its reputation as a startup hub in Europe at a time when political instability in Spain's Catalonia and the U.K.'s decision to exit the European Union are triggering growing interest in the southern European country. Photographer: Daniel Rodrigues/Bloomberg

The Web Summit says that an offline version of its global tech conference may yet go ahead in Lisbon in December, despite similar events being postponed due to the pandemic.

Tickets for Web Summit in Lisbon will go on sale in early October, provided Portugal’s health protocols permit events at that time,” the spokesperson said.

Asked whether an offline event was being considered for contractual reasons with Lisbon authorities, corporate sponsors or the venue, a Web Summit spokesperson repeated that the decision on whether or not to hold it offline would be announced when guidance from Lisbon authorities was received by the Web Summit in October.

The Web Summit moved its an earlier global tech conference, Collision, entirely online in June.

“Whatever decision is made on the format of Web Summit in Lisbon will strictly adhere to Portugal’s health protocols for events at that time,” the spokesperson said. “That decision will thereafter be reviewed weekly and subject to health protocol changes until the opening day of Web Summit in Lisbon on December 2.”

Almost all global tech conferences have been postponed, cancelled or moved online. Executives from US tech giants such as Microsoft have been told that they cannot travel to appear at conferencing events until summer 2021 at the earliest.

Air travellers from a number of countries face restrictions on the health advice of governments.

Whether or not the offline Web Summit occurs in Lisbon, the event is set to proceed online, with high profile speakers such as European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Zoom founder Eric Yuan, Huawei chairman Guo Ping, Revolut founder Nikolay Storofsky and 'Avengers' actor Chris Evans.

Tickets for the online event are on sale at reduced prices compared to offline tickets.

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It’s the second major online tech conference held this year by Paddy Cosgrave’s company, with Collision having taken place online in June of this year.


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