Europe’s largest tech conference – the Web Summit – will return as an in-person event in 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 had said last November that the venue, Lisbon’s Altice Arena, was 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 tests will be needed, communications manager Katherine Farrell told Reuters, but the venue is being prepared to ensure social distancing is possible.
Under current plans by the Portuguese government, the mandatory use of masks in outdoor areas will be abolished in September, but will remain mandatory for large gatherings and indoors.
Elements of the conference will be streamed online, as was the case prior to the pandemic, Farrell said.
“We couldn’t be happier to return in person. It will be incredible to see people safely connect in person again and re-experience the magic of face-to-face interactions,” CEO Cosgrave said in a statement.
More than 1,000 speakers and 1,250 startups are lining up to attend the summit, which will take place Nov. 1-4, the company said.
Last year, some 104,000 attended the online event. 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.
Daily new coronavirus cases rose in June and early July to levels last seen in February when Portugal was under strict lockdown, but have fallen slightly since late July as the vaccination campaign progresses.
According to government data, about 71 percent of the Portuguese population has received one dose of a COVID vaccine and 62 percent are fully vaccinated.
© Thomson Reuters 2021