Europe’s largest tech conference – the Web Summit – will return as an in-person event to Lisbon in November, organizers confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday, after the event was held online last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave said last November that the venue, Lisbon’s Altice Arena, had been booked for 2021 and he expected the event to return in person.
Organizers said on Wednesday they were in regular contact with health authorities to set up a COVID-safe event.
It has not yet been decided whether masks or testing will be necessary, communications manager Katherine Farrell told Reuters, but the venue is being prepared to ensure social distancing.
According to the current plans of the Portuguese government, the mandatory use of masks in outdoor spaces will be lifted in September but will still be required in large gatherings and will be mandatory indoors.
Material from the conference will be streamed online, as was the case before the pandemic, Farrell said.
“We couldn’t be more excited to come back in person. Seeing people securely connect again and relive the magic of face-to-face interactions will be amazing,” CEO Cosgrave said in a statement.
More than 1,000 speakers and 1,250 startups are lined up to attend the summit, which will take place November 1-4, the company said.
About 104,000 people attended the event online alone last year. Organizers said they expected more than 40,000 people to attend the conference this year. Just under 70,500 tickets were sold for the 2019 event.
The number of new daily coronavirus cases increased in June and early July to levels last seen in February, when Portugal was under strict lockdown, but has declined slightly since late July as the vaccination campaign is progressing.
Some 71% of the Portuguese population has received a dose of a COVID vaccine, and 62% are fully vaccinated, according to government data.
© Thomson Reuters 2021