I read, via Carlos Blanco, that Barcelona is very close to losing its status as host to the Mobile World Congress (for old-timers, the old 3GSM conference).
Apparently, the organizers are wanting to leave Barcelona because of:
- Price gouging on the part of hotels during the conference. For example, I know a 3-star hotel up the road that normally costs 150 euros/night, which during the conference was trying to get away with charging 2000 euros/night (yes, three zeros!).
- Lack of transportation, particularly taxis. This I simply can’t understand. Taxi drivers complain they’re underpaid, then when an amazing opportunity like MWC comes along they don’t show up to get the additional work.
- High volume of theft against participants. This is where Barcelona’s ongoing, ever-present problem with street crime come back to haunt it.
I think it would be tragic for the city to lose such a major, prestigious event. Everyone would lose: hotels, taxis, restaurants, the city government, local startups, barcelona’s reach and influence…
It’s almost like there’s a common complacency about Barcelona’s status/brand that everyone is just milking and abusing…until that inevitable day when the brand becomes so damaged that people simply leave for alternatives.