The INFECAR exhibition center in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has big plans for its upcoming repositioning. Founded in 1965, INFECAR was the first exhibition center in the Canary Islands and is still an essential driver for the economy of Gran Canaria to this day.

With around 8-9 own trade fairs per year and 4-5 own events and ambitious concepts for the further use of the conference center, it is now time for INFECAR – the Canarian Tradeshow and Conference Center, to initiate a fundamental paradigm shift. That will mean to look into meeting the ecological and social demands of the future, to deal with major changes in markets, demonstrate foresight and competitiveness and to follow the island government’s strategy of being a “sustainable laboratory” and innovation pioneer.

As a result, the Government – Cabildo de Gran Canaria – intends to renew and modernize INFECAR in order to respond to these challenges and the new parameters in the exhibition and event industry. The focus is on technological innovation, visitor guidance and the versatility of the event rooms and the new exhibition halls to be built.

An internationally recognized sustainability certification will secure INFECAR a top position among Spanish congress centers.

In order to meet these objectives, an agreement has now been signed with BREEAM, a leading global certification system for the certification and planning of large sustainable projects and buildings with net-zero emissions.

copyright BREEAM

BREEAM has a Spanish corporate branch and Infecar is the first sustainable certification project for a trade fair and congress center in Spain, with a focus on three areas:

– Conception and implementation of new building measures

– Analysis and transformation of existing buildings

– And urbanization projects

In a conversation with the director of INFECAR, Natalia Santana Hernández, we learn more about the planned certification and its far-reaching consequences.

Natalia, what are the main activities of INFECAR:

a) Our own activities, mainly trade fairs and events

b) Renting out the conference rooms for events

c) The transformation and maintenance of the structures and the site

The BREEAM certification seems to be a rather complex project – how exactly do you go about it?

1) BREEAM is involved in the planning of our new pavilions – all necessary aspects for the final certification must be taken into account from the start of the buildings.

2) The transformation of the existing buildings must be based on an in-depth analysis (which is currently being carried out) and a concept for the necessary modifications and changes.

3) INFECAR’s current urbanization plan is already around 15 years old and must also be adapted – to plan the interactions and effects of the project and determine its importance for the strategic branding of the destination.

What is included in such an urbanization plan?

It needs to answer questions like “Why implement a specific project? What are the expectations of this project? Does the project achieve its goal? Will the position of the city / island improve in international competition? What is this project changing in the city itself? ” *

The global networking and internationalization of the economy result in ever-increasing competition between cities with a consistently tight budget. This in turn leads to concentration on innovative large-scale projects to be able to “keep up” in international competition.

Our new urbanization plan will be developed as the first part of the project over the next few months.

That sounds very relevant for the economic future of the eco-island of Gran Canaria. How long do you estimate the duration of the entire project?

We assume a total duration of 6-8 years. It is by no means “only” the certification requirements that need to be met, but the process triggers necessary adjustments in all areas of our organization: All management systems have to be rethought and realigned. Teams have to be trained accordingly, maintenance is completely different, waste and water management, marketing and sales – everything will be different. CHANGE in all areas.

How do you plan the increasingly international orientation of INFECAR in the future?

I would like to see increased cooperation between the main stakeholders of and integrated communication on our island with regard to international relevance. Due to our geographical situation, we tend to pay more attention to the local market and therefore sometimes forget to consider the “outside world”. We want to change that now – the sustainable strategies and developments in Gran Canaria must be communicated holistically and thoroughly.

Muchas Gracias Natalia, for sharing all this information!


Further information – contacts:

Sergio Maccanti, Tecnico Gran Canaria Convention Bureau, email

Johanna Fischer, MD tmf dialogue and communitylab Europe, email

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