GSMA Cancels Mobile World Congress Over Coronavirus Concerns
After a staggering number of exhibitors and attendees backed out of Mobile World Congress 2020, GSMA has decided to cancel the show entirely. The event was scheduled to take place in Barcelona from Feb. 24-27, 2020 at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via.
In a statement posted to the MWC Barcelona website, GSMA writes:
With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event. The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions. Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.
At the time of this article, there are more than 42,000 reported cases of coronavirus infections and over 1,000 deaths from the virus. GSMA had originally planned to combat the spread of germs at the show by issuing a “no handshake policy” and a microphone changing protocol among other safety practices, but that still wasn’t enough to ease everyone’s concern. Over the past two weeks, major companies like Sony, Amazon, Ericsson, Intel, Vivo, and more cancelled or scaled back their plans for Mobile World Congress. It’s hard to say just how many visitors cancelled their plans to attend the show as well, but it’s safe to assume that that number was significant as well.
This year would have marked the 15th anniversary of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, though the show first began back in 1987. Annual attendance usually exceeds 100,000 making Mobile World Congress the largest trade show for the mobile phone industry.