Web Summit 2021 to be held in-person, organiser confirms

Next year's event is to combine virtual and in-person attendance

The Web Summit conference is to return to Lisbon as an in-person conference in 2021, according to its founder.

The event, which is one Europe’s largest technology conferences, is due to be held virtually next week after being forced to move online during the pandemic.

However, Web Summit’s founder Paddy Cosgrave believes that this will no longer be the case next year, with plans already underway for its return to Lisbon.

“The venue is booked,” Cosgrave told Reuters in an interview. “I think by November (next year) the Web Summit will be happening in-person and I can’t wait.”

The event had been held annually in the Portuguese capital since 2016, when it moved there from Dublin, Ireland. Last year, the conference attracted 70,469 participants from 163 countries, hosting over 1,200 speakers across 22 stages.

However, this year Web Summit had to adapt its event in order to meet various health and safety restrictions linked to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, following in the steps of other major tech conferences, such as RSA and the Mobile World Congress

For its 2020 conference, which starts on 2 December, Web Summit will be able to accommodate even more participants, with 100,000 expected to be in virtual attendance. They will be joined by hundreds of speakers, many of which are chief executives of major tech enterprises.

Next year’s Web Summit is expected to become even bigger. It will combine virtual and in-person attendance, hosting 70,000 attendees in Lisbon personally, as well as up to 80,000 online, a welcome option for guests who are unable to travel long distances.

Cosgrave said that he has “no doubt it will be just great to get everyone back to Lisbon”.

The founder also announced that 2022 could see a South American Summit in either Rio de Janeiro or Porto Alegre, describing Brazil as “an absolutely fantastic, thriving country”.

“Holding each year, in the build up to November’s Lisbon Web Summit, events in key regions of the world is a good idea,” Cosgrove added.

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