The organizers of Mobile World Congress 2021, due to take place in Barcelona this Summer, have received some much-needed good news from the Spanish government.

Right now Spain prohibits ‘non-essential’ travel to and from countries outside the EU/Schengen area. The GSMA, which runs MWC, has announced that anyone registered to attend the event will be classified as a ‘highly qualified worker’ and thus exempt from this restriction.

“The health and safety of everyone involved in MWC Barcelona, both in Spain and beyond, continues to be our utmost priority as we navigate rapidly shifting circumstances,” said John Hoffman, GSMA CEO. “This decision is a resounding vote of confidence in the careful planning undertaken to date, and our strong partnership with the host city parties. We will continue to work closely with our partners to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience.”

While it will still be a bit of a hassle, it seems there’s no avoiding that as the world struggles to emerge from Covid lockdown. The GSMA is going to provide the Spanish authorities with the details of everyone registered. It will also provide registrants with an attendance confirmation document that they can flash at the legions of bureaucrats, officials and box-tickers that lie in wait for anyone who has the temerity to try to get on with their lives.

The UK is not part of either the EU or the Schengen area, but Spain seems to have recently applied the same rules to is as the rest of Europe, so it’s not clear whether we need to jump through these extra hoops. It looks like everyone will still need to have proof of a negative Covid test, though, and Spain currently insists people wear masks nearly all the time.




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