SiGMA Founder Eman Pulis has indirectly responded to the hundreds of complaints about traffic that his massive iGaming conference has caused, grinding already hectic and key parts of the country's road networks to a halt in the first half of the week, through its relocation to Marsa.
In a LinkedIn post he remarked that the only choice was to either move to a larger unconventional venue or to move away from Malta, “to a city with a more robust infrastructure.”
The SiGMA event started on Monday 13th at the Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH) in Marsa, with Friday 17th November (today) being the last day. The SiGMA event saw 25,000 delegates, over 750 operators, over 200 speakers and over 800 sponsors and exhibitors.
Earlier this year, Mr Pulis had stated that the increased demand from delegates and exhibitors has compelled the company to seek a larger, more dynamic space.
“We’ve been working on this plan for the past five years and today, thanks to a robust road infrastructure and a refurbished venue, we can finally announce that we’re moving SiGMA Europe from MFCC in Ta’ Qali to the Marsa Mediterranean Maritime Hub. The venue is two to three times larger – but given the long waiting list, the floor plan is practically sold out already,” he announced in May.
The event has seen large crowds with lots of people opting to make use of taxis to save time from trying to find parking. Despite so, many complained that they were stuck in traffic (in a taxi) and had to walk the rest of the way. On the other hand, those who drove themselves, said that they had to park far away and walk the distance.
In light of this, Mr Pulis remarked that he understands that on day one, traffic flow across the country was impacted and “the inconvenience is regretted.” However, looking on the bright side, he remarked that these experiences serve as valuable lessons learnt to mitigate for this year.
Nonethless, Mr Pulis stated that, "the response from hoteliers, restaurants, suppliers, sports clubs and taxis has been overwhelming, and a clear sign that the show should stay in Malta. The tourist sector used to refer to November as a shoulder month. Not anymore".
“One of the toughest decisions taken earlier this year under my watch paid off beautifully. Merely five months ago we managed to secure all necessary permits, just in time to start refurbishing three derelict sheds and host the largest conference ever in Malta,” he recounted.
Mr Pulis stated that the vibe of this year’s edition of SiGMA Europe was unlike anything he has witnessed over the nine years that the conference has been running.
He added that delegates thought that SiGMA couldn’t go farther after last year’s performance at MFCC, yet this year was bigger.
“Current exhibitors want bigger spaces and new clients want in big. I can’t wait to raise the bar yet again in 2024,” Mr Pulis said.
Finally, he concluded by thanking the “greatest workforce,” the SiGMA Squad. “Ubuntu. I am because we are.”