It was dubbed a huge success and is set to be hosted in Portugal until “at least 2020”.
The Web Summit, considered the biggest technology event in the world, was held in Lisbon in November and universally praised, with businesses, hotels and other economic players highlighting the gigantic impact the event had on the country.
“It was the biggest event ever held in Portugal,” Miguel Frasquilho, head of Portugal’s investment and foreign trade agency AICEP, told Lusa news agency.
“I would say the only events that rivalled it were the Euro 2004 and Expo 98, but the advantage of the Web Summit is that it is not just a one-year event,” he said.
Frasquilho estimates that the Web Summit had an “economic impact ranging between €150 million and €200 million” and “that it benefited the whole Portuguese economy in the last third of the year”.
But the event is about much more than ‘just’ its economic impact, he said.
Frasquilho highlighted the “importance of the contacts” made by the 1,500 start-up companies that attended the fair, 10% of which were Portuguese, which allowed them to mingle with several potential investors.
“The Web Summit puts Portugal, definitely, at the top of the technological world,” he said.
He added that Portugal is now “seen differently” than it was a year or two ago, at least in terms of technology.
“We cannot live without technology, and the fact that the event is held here will help Portugal be seen as a technological hub.”
Logically, AICEP wants to keep the Web Summit in Portugal for as long as possible.
“I can say that the event is guaranteed until 2020 and I have a feeling that it will stay here for much longer than that,” Frasquilho said.
“It is an event that will be in Portugal for a long time. I would say that the Web Summit has found its home, and that is of an incalculable value,” he added.
Bringing the fair to Portugal was a joint effort, he said, that involved not only AICEP but also Portugal’s Ambassador to Ireland Bernardo Futscher Pereira, former deputy Prime-minister Paulo Portas, former Secretary of State Assistant to the Minister and for Economy Leonardo Mathias, Lisbon Mayor Francisco Medina and Portugal and Lisbon’s tourism entities.