June 24, 2020 / 4:49 PM / 11 days ago

Web Summit to take place in Portugal in December if virus ebbs

LISBON (Reuters) - Europe’s biggest technology conference, the Web Summit, is in talks with the Portuguese government to organise its annual event in Lisbon in December, a month after originally planned, its founder Paddy Cosgrave said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave speaks at the closing ceremony of the Web Summit, in Lisbon, Portugal, November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes/File Photo

“Every government anywhere in the world would hope the situation improves and normality might be able to return to their city and country,” Cosgrave told an online news conference.

The format of the summit is likely to be decided in early October, adhering to Portugal’s health protocols and will be reviewed weekly until the opening day on Dec. 2.

Should it take place it could be one of the first big international events to be staged since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the cancellation of events from music festivals to the Olympic Games.

The online version of the summit will host up to 100,000 founders, partners and speakers on its conference platform, the company said in a statement.

Tickets for the event in Lisbon will go on sale in early October, provided Portugal’s health protocols permit events at that time.

Events or gatherings of 10 or more people are currently banned in Lisbon due to localised outbreaks in and around the city.

It is not yet clear what measures will be required of this year’s Web Summit to reduce risk of contagion and how many people will be able to physically attend it.

“Whatever the limitations are I want to ensure we do something spread all over Portugal and share a little more with the world than just Lisbon,” Cosgrave said. “There is a lot more to discover and there are great things happening all over Portugal.”

The Web Summit, which moved from Dublin to the Portuguese capital in 2016, attracted around 70,000 participants last year, drawing speakers from leading global tech companies and startups, as well as politicians.

The company also has plans to open up its online conference platform to customers who organise large, bespoke events.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru and Catarina Demony in Lisbon; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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