Web Summit “cost €20 million and isn’t what it was”

Lisbon's Web Summit cost Portuguese ratepayers over €20 million this time round and ‘fell short of expectations’.

Lisbon’s Web Summit – Portugal’s major ‘tech event’ taking place every November for the last four years – has somehow lost its ‘punch’. Say reports, it cost Portuguese ratepayers over €20 million this time round and ‘fell short of expectations’.

Indeed, there are those that say the 2019 edition was a flop.

Fate also saw to it that the discovery of a newborn dumped in a recycling bin not far from the summit venue focused people’s minds on the flip side of a capital extolling the marvels of a world of Apps, start-ups and 21st century ingenuity.

Leader writers quipped: “the same beings capable of planning journeys to Mars, eradicating disease and combating hunger cannot create conditions that allow a young mother, albeit facing many difficulties, to opt to stay with her child instead of dropping him into the rubbish”.

In numbers, it was quite evident that Web Summit ‘didn’t cut the mustard’.

Over 100,000 visitors were ‘expected’: a little over 70,000 turned up.

Lisbon City Council was hoping for a huge return of “hundreds of millions of euros” for the €20 million it ploughed into the event , but so far there has been ‘no concrete information on what the real benefits of the summit are for Portugal’, says Lusa.

Sol describes a ‘zero in media coverage abroad’, saying televisions and newspapers “ignore” the tech fest completely.

Even so, initial figures suggest participants this year will have spent €64.4 million.

Accommodation – largely ‘AL’ (Airbnb-type rentals) – saw those attending spending an average of €125 per day (according to an analysis from hoteliers association AHRESP) and businesses interviewed in the run-up to this year’s event – running from November 4-7 – all expected a four-day bonanza.

Says Lusa, the Web Summit is due to remain in Lisbon until 2028 (it began in 2010 in Ireland).

This year more than 5.1 million people travelled on the Lisbon Metro during the four days – a growth of 10.9% on numbers from last year.

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