The bars on the banks of Lisbon’s Tagus river are gearing up for a bonanza as tens of thousands of people descend on the city for Europe’s largest tech event.
The Web Summit, also known as “Davos for geeks,” which runs from Monday to Thursday with more than 53,000 people from 165 countries signed up to attend, is expected to deliver a shot in the arm for Portugal’s ailing economy.
The summit’s previous five editions were held in Dublin, where a tradition for partying into the night was firmly established.
The Portuguese government expects this sixth edition to inject 200 million euros ($220 million) into the economy, with a quarter of that going to the hotel industry and another 50 million euros to the conference’s various suppliers.
The national carrier, TAP, has seen a 15 percent jump in sales of European flights.
“The indirect impact could be much bigger, because hundreds of major investors will be there,” economy minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral told AFP.
He added that the summit would give Portuguese start-ups “international visibility that will allow them to expand more quickly.”
The event’s Irish co-founder Paddy Cosgrave said a lot would be happening after sunset.
“Late in the night, we will be on the streets of Lisbon… What I like is to see tens of thousands of business people, entrepreneurs or those who want to become entrepreneurs, and they are all just learning from each other and doing business, hopefully. That’s exciting,” he said.