Lisbon Web Summit - record turnout

16 June

Participation is projected to be the largest ever for the Web Summit, which first took place in Dublin and which will be located in Lisbon in November.

The Web Summit committee of which there are 140 members are still based in Dublin, Ireland, but are currently working on Lisbon. The Portuguese capital is gearing up for the event in November which will be the largest Tech event of its kind bringing together the brightest start-ups and entrepreneurs in the world. The figures are impressive: already 30,000 participants from 150 countries have enrolled, according to DN Eleanor Mc Grath, the Communications director for the Web Summit. These figures are even more impressive when one considers that for the 2015 edition 1,300 people from 19 countries had registered at this point.

The Portuguese and Lisbon tourist office’s as well as AICEP are co-financing the summit to the tune of €1.3 million.  The event's debut in Lisbon anticipates a record participation of 50,000 people with three hotels already completely sold out. "We will have 500 speakers, one thousand investors from the largest venture capital firms in the world and more than a thousand journalists from major international newspapers," states McGrath. "We started six years ago with 400 participants in Dublin, so its super exciting to see it grow that much this year,”  The organisation is even hiring for their Dublin office, opening several positions.

Among the confirmed participants are market leading figures such as the executive chairman of Cisco, John Chambers, the director of Coca-Cola Technology, Alan Boehme, the vice president of Swarovski marketing, Joan Ng and the renowned football players Luís Figo and Rui Costa. "The arrival of the Web Summit has put Lisbon firmly on the map as one of the leading European tech capitals" says DN Stephan Morais, director of Caixa Capital, who will support the event.  Many investors will invest “for the first time in Portugal”. "It's a great opportunity to cement our reputation and attract talent and foreign start-ups to establish themselves in our country," he said, adding that the summit “will bring very good opportunities for co - investment results”.

Opportunity for tourism

Most of the activities will take place between the Meo Arena and the FIL in the Park of Nations, but there are many events planned to boost networking and to get to know Lisbon, from Baixa to Bairro Alto and the Marquis of Pombal. Eleanor Mc Grath says that last year, the Summit had 20 different stages, and that 14 are already set for Lisbon – including Design and Music. “As always, we will organise a series of events offstage and events during the Night Summit, and we will disclose the details in the next two months," he says. "There will be something for everyone throughout the week."

From the list of 12 official hotels associated with the event, three are already sold out - Florida, Ibis Park of Nations and Epic Sana Lisbon. But the biggest impact for hotels is yet to come. As revealed in June from the Association of Hotels of Portugal (AHP), over a third of the city's hotels have not received reservations for the event, which takes place during the week of 7th to 10th of November.

This can be partly explained by the rise of websites and applications that allow you to book accommodation outside the normal circuit such as Airbnb. The Portuguese version of the portal has more than ten thousand recorded listings in Lisbon. And there are other options, such as HomeAway. "This event, because of its size and nature, will have a structural impact on Lisbon as a tourist destination" said DN Vítor Costa, director general of the Tourism Association of Lisbon.

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