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“PARIS, One Step Ahead”

21Paris is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, and it has successfully positioned itself as a global leader in the convention industry. (Note: it placed a third in the UIA’s 2010 ranking)

What has made this enchanted tourist city a business meeting hub in Europe aside from the robust tourist infrastructure (e.g. two international airports, six international train stations, 1,550 hotels including 27 5-star rated properties)? Paul Roll, President of Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, reveals the secret behind the city’s continuing success in the global MICE industry and je ne sais quoi which attracts the international consumers.




Paul Roll

President, Paris CVB

[*Editor’s Note: the situational analysis of the city demonstrates the market condition of Paris in 2011 as this column was submitted in 2011. As well, the future plan of the Paris Convention Bureau in the article solely focuses on the development and growth strategy targeting the year 2012.]


1.  The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau


The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official gateway to the destination and a veritable platform for dialogue between event planners and Parisian service providers. Looking to organize a seminar, a conference or an incentive in Paris? The Paris Convention Bureau will help you plan your event, drawing on its pool of 500 or so professional tourism trade members (event venues, hotels, activities and entertainment, incoming agencies, transport, etc.) and providing you with advice and contacts.

An expert team on the destination and a range of tools are at your disposal:

  • A dedicated website for business tourism: www.convention.parisinfo.com/en/  which includes:
    • The latest news from Parisian tourist trade professionals (inaugurations, renovations, etc.)
    • A multi-criteria search engine that facilitates your search for all the service providers you require      for organizing your events
    • A calendar of events for 2011 and 2012 for congresses, trade fairs, trade shows and major Parisian    events (cultural, sporting, etc.)
    • Brochures to help you organize your event and discover Paris
    • A RFP form that puts you in contact with our team who will help you find solutions to the most    complex specification lists.
  • A monthly e-newsletterParis News keeps you up to date on all the latest news on the Paris destination.
  • A photo library which you can search for images to illustrate your programmes.
  •  An online store for the purchase of a variety of tourism products (tickets, museum passes, transport passes, etc.) for people attending your event.
  • A choice of brochures and tools at your disposal: presentation of Paris film, and coming out soon, the guide for event planners:  « Meeting in Paris » (more than 400 venues listed).


Strategic sector

In 2011 in Paris, the economic spinoffs linked to congresses (accommodation, catering, leisure, shopping and transport) were estimated at more than 414 million euros (411 million in 2009). Business overnights represented 16.2 million overnights (+11.2% compared to 2009), i.e. 45% of global overnights, and overnights linked to the association congress segment, 1.1 million hotel overnights, i.e. 7% of business overnights.


The Convention Bureau supported 322 projects in 2011

In 2011, the Bureau supported 322 dossiers including 153 bids (i.e. 48% of the total number of projects). Indicators of a dynamic activity and little affected by economic hazards, these good results are largely due to the Bureau’s recognized legitimacy as a gateway to the destination.  80% of requests are directly addressed to the Bureau, which federates Parisian professionals and provides unique services, resources and expertise.


An increasing number of congresses

In 2011, 996 congresses (792,000 participants) were identified compared to 959 in 2009 (672,000 participants). On average, Paris hosted 83 congresses each month: almost 3 per day! The medical sector accounted for the majority of congresses in Paris (50%). This percentage continues to increase its market share (+7 points in four years). Of note, 31 events chose Paris for their first event; which shows the French capital’s unwavering appeal.


2. Campaign project


Paris strengthens the potential of its attractiveness in support of congress professionals


The Chairmen and Managing Directors of some 15 hotel groups representing 475 hotels, more than 60,000 guest rooms all categories taken together in Paris and the Paris region, came together under the aegis of the Paris City Council, the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau to sign the Charter for the hosting of major professional events in Paris. This Charter seeks to attract to Paris major events, bringing together more than 1,000 congress attendees over several days, initiated by non-profit making organizations (learned societies, federations, professional associations, etc.).


The hotel group signatories undertake to offer specific and advantageous conditions for this type of event, as much in terms of deposits, cancellations, quotas of rooms guaranteed several years in advance in accordance with the procedure decided on by the contracting associations, as in terms of the transparency of the rates presented (expressed inclusive of tax, definitive or with details of the rate of increases, inclusive of breakfast or not, etc.).


Through this unprecedented federation of a whole industry, Paris has brought together all the assets for attracting major association events against a backdrop of very keen international competition. With the establishment of a charter involving an important number of hotels, the Paris Convention Bureau put the final touch to a charm offensive for the destination; the latter is now well-equipped to give global, precise and detailed propositions to associations, bringing together, several years in advance, the offer of the different destination professionals in bids for Paris.


Note: association congresses are a strategic market and generate 10% of business tourism overnights, thanks to some 792,000 participants welcomed on the occasion of 996 events, of which 150 of them draw more than 1,000 congress attendees each year. In addition to a financial contribution with high added value – the average amount spent by a congress attendee is €321 per day, 50% more than that of a leisure tourist –, the congresses ensure the global influence of fields of excellence, are impervious to economic hazards and guarantee a long-term activity thanks to a decision taken two to ten years in advance.



3.  Paris’ 2012 vision


The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau has listed 12 plus points that should contribute to maintaining Paris’s great appeal as a tourist destination, despite the current poor economic climate. Although no one knows how European markets are going to react to economic austerity measures, nor to what extent the French and American elections will impact the number of tourists visiting Paris in 2012, the Bureau sees more reasons to be optimistic than the reverse.


1. Loyalty of Paris’s leading tourism market: the French

The market share for this clientele continues to increase: 38% of arrivals in 2000, 47% in 2010!


2. New tourists from other countries (BRIC, Mexico, Near and Middle East, Eastern Europe, etc.) support the growth of Parisian tourism and should suffer less from austerity measures than more economically advanced countries.


3. New places and amenities will be inaugurated in 2012 and in the coming years.

They will put Paris in the news and improve its tourism offer.

  • Introduction of Autolib’ (in service end of 2011).
  • New layout of the riverside expressways for 2012 (with new special attractions including 11 new sites for boats open to the public).
  • Inauguration of La Cité européenne du cinéma (May 2012).
  • Inauguration of the new Islamic Arts Department at the Louvre (mid-2012).
  • Reopening of the Musée Picasso in spring 2013.
  • Inauguration of the LVMH foundation for contemporary art (in a building by Franck Gehry) end of 2013.
  • Opening of the Beaugrenelle shopping centre (2013).
  • Inauguration of the Paris Philharmonic concert hall by Jean Nouvel (2014).


4. Major events to mark 2012

  • Major cultural exhibitions: Dalí at the Centre Pompidou, ‘Impressionism and Fashion’ at the Musée d’Orsay, etc.
  • Major trade shows: ‘Mondial de l’automobile’ (Paris Motor Show) (1,200,000 visitors in 2010), ‘SIAL’ (trade show on food distribution, 140,000 visitors in 2010), ‘Intermat’ (trade show on construction and materials, 75,000 visitors in 2009), etc.
  • Disneyland Paris’s 20th anniversary and Johnny Hallyday at the Stade de France.
  • And as always: Paris Plages, Nuit Blanche, etc.


5. There is a full line-up of congresses in 2012

2012 will be a good year for international congresses in Paris: EAU (international congress on urology 11,000 participants), Euro PCR (congress on cardiovascular operations, 12,000 participants),

Euroanaesthesia (10,000 participants), WCH (world congress on hemophilia, 6,000 participants), etc.


6. Paris should be able to benefit from the London 2012 Olympic Games

  • The high prices and huge numbers expected at this event discourage tourists. A report on the flow of these potential tourists is envisaged. This is an opportunity to capitalize on, especially as the London Olympic Games take place at a low-season period for Paris tourism.

According to the ETOA (European Tour Operator Association), tour operators have already recorded a drop of 60% in leisure bookings for London for summer 2012; some have already deleted London from their leisure circuits.


7. The number of hotels in Paris is increasing slightly which, during a period of crisis, avoids adjustments linked to the opening of new hotels and makes it possible to optimize the filling of the capital’s accommodation capacity. From July 2012, the new standards for hotel classification will come into full force, encouraging international comparisons and the renovation of Paris’s hotel offer.


8. In 2012, the ‘Paris Métropole’ project will be at the heart of debates

  • Future projects will be decided in 2012: layout of the Roissy express, extensions of certain metro lines and the Grand Paris Express.
  • With the project ‘Paris Métropole’, the capital is considering the enlargement of its urban and tourist territory.


9. The image of Paris that is always good, and very present in the media and in the imagination

Paris is still a city that enthralls people and it continues to be the setting for the most wonderful stories: Hugo Cabret by Martin Scorsese, Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen, A Monster in Paris with Vanessa Paradis, etc.


10. Since September 2011, the euro has become a little weaker against the dollar, thus encouraging the return of Americans to the capital, the main foreign tourism market for the capital.


11. Urban tourism is also a solution to periods of economic crisis enabling tourists to go away for a shorter period whilst still getting a break. This was the case during the crisis of 2007-2009 during which results for Paris tourism remained high.


12. The outlook for growth in tourism remains positive even if it is less significant for 2012 than for 2013 (Forecast of the European Travel Commission).

  • Growth in the number of visitors entering in the EU 15: +1.5% in 2012 and +2% in 2013.
  • No global economic recession expected according to the IMF growth forecast regarding GDP in 2012 (Forecast at the end of September 2011). This growth outlook envisages an improvement compared to the previous year for Paris’s major markets: US (+1.8%), Japan (+2.3%), UK (+1.6%).


4. Why choose Paris?

  • For its attractive prices 1 sandwich: €5; 1 croissant: €0.90 1 coffee: €1; 1 menu: €15 1 club admission fee: €12; 1 metro ticket: €1.70 14 free museums
  • For heritage 37 bridges, 200 churches 10,100 tons of steel in the Eiffel Tower 465 parks and gardens 6,500 years of history 2,400 km of pavements 27% of the surface area of Paris in parks and woods
  • For culture 120 statues in the Tuileries 36,000 works exhibited at the Louvre 13.6 million visitors to Notre-Dame 1,800 buildings listed or historically-listed buildings
  • For shopping 17,500 shops / 4 department stores 12% tax refund for non-European visitors 72 days of sales each year
  • For events More than 300 every day 1.5 million people in the streets for Nuit Blanche 6,000 tons of sand for Paris-Plages 1 million Leds to illuminate the Champs-Élysées at Christmas
  • For entertainment 350 performances at the Opéra de Paris 2,300 bottles of champagne uncorked every evening in cabarets 11,000 bars and restaurants 500 films showing every day 100 boat cruises every day
  • For trends 25,000 artists living and working in Paris 940 film shoots in Paris in 2011 100 countries represented during the Paris fashion shows, with 15,000 designers, manufacturers


5. PARIS One step ahead


In 2012, Paris stays one step ahead, while the future face of the capital for the 2020s is mapped out. The cultural scene remains the destination’s strongest attraction, with the opening of new venues and with events for every type of public. Paris is a capital that is always in the public eye and always full of surprises with its museums, galleries, and monuments, trendy bars, hotels of charm and character, palaces, and sumptuous restaurants. Full of energy at every turn, Paris is more than ever ‘A moveable feast’!


Paris, leading tourism destination.

Paris, a city at the heart of Europe, is the favourite destination of some 29 million visitors from Europe but also from emerging countries like China, India, or Brazil. The capital’s ability to transform itself and to climb up into the top ranks of the most innovative cities makes it one of the most attractive destinations. Ideally connected to Europe’s major capitals by ever-more efficient TGV links, and to the rest of the world via its airports, including Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, Europe’s leading airport, in terms of movement, Paris now seems to have no borders!


Paris, always an event.

All year long, some 300 artistic events take place every day in all cultural domains. Some of those invented in Paris have been taken up by other capital cities: the Nuit blanche, now adopted from Rome to Miami, or Paris-Plages, a summer event which transforms parts of the city into a seaside resort, today taken up by Milan, Brussels and Mexico. In addition to these major events that celebrate a typically Parisian art of living: Shopping by Paris, the capital’s winter sales and shopping event; Paris Illumine Paris, festive end-of-year illuminations in all districts of Paris; and the Nuits Capitales, five days of special events, concerts and clubbing in Parisian nightspots.

The cultural year in 2012 also features major exhibitions: with classics like Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Degas, Le Corbusier or Dali. For contemporary art, there is Daniel Buren for Monumenta in the nave of the Grand Palais, which will also play host to the Fiac and Art Paris, and new since 2011, Paris Photo, the major international photography event. Exhibitions devoted to major artists like Helmut Newton or Edward Hopper are also held here.

On the design scene, the Maison & Objet trade show, the Puces du Design and Designer’s Days can now count on the new Paris Design Week. Gastronomy is also much in view with the Omnivore food festival, Fooding and the operation ‘Tous au restaurant’. Major sporting events will thrill spectators: The French Open Tennis Championship at Roland-Garros, the arrival of the Tour de France, the Prix d’Amérique, and the Paris Marathon.


Paris, a captivating city.

This is largely due to the quality of its lifestyle, which the capital reinvents every day. In terms of hotels, the capacity and diversity of establishments never ceases to grow. The creation of a 5-star category and a Palace label repositions French hotels on the world hotel scene and enables Parisian establishments to better promote the upscale amenities and services that have given the capital its reputation. The fact that foreign hotel groups, notably Asian ones, like Raffles, Shangri-La or Mandarin Oriental, choose to open in the capital shows just how attractive Paris is. The capital boasts more and more innovative, surprising and conceptual hotels offering new experiences for your stay like at Le Royal Monceau-Raffles, the Hi Matic, signed Matali Crasset, the Jules et Jim, the Hôtel Crayon by Julie Gauthron, and the much-awaited W Paris – Opéra, the Hotel O by Ora-Ito, and many more. All of which does not prevent Paris from being one of the least expensive cities for budget hotel accommodation.

On the gastronomy scene, the fact that the ‘French gastronomic meal’ now has Unesco humanity heritage status focuses attention on a Parisian art de vivre which is continually distinguishing itself. Chefs continue to innovate and offer new restaurants where the cooking is particularly inspired, like for example that of Pierre Daret at Baudelaire, Guy Martin at Sensing, Christopher Hache at the Ambassadeurs, the restaurant Antoine, La Fourchette du Printemps or Fédéric Simonin. The ‘bistronomie’ trend, a savvy mix of bistro spirit and gastronomy, has ever more followers, thanks to the talents of young chefs Daniel Rose at Spring, Inaki Aizpitarte at Dauphin or Sven Chartier at Saturne, all experts on authentic flavours and regional products.

Also worthy of note: Purgatoire, in rue de Paradis, a new loft space for culinary performances, along with lessons in oenology, world cooking, happenings and special events with DJs, artists, etc. Also to watch out for in 2012, Anne-Sophie Pic, voted the best female chef in the world in 2011, opens her first Parisian restaurant in the spring, Guy Savoy, at the helm of the restaurant of the Hôtel de monnaie, Yannick Alléno, the thrice-starred chef at the Meurice, and the opening of a bistro titled Le terroir parisien at the Maison de la Mutualité.


Paris always and forever the capital of fashion, luxury, well-being … and shopping!

The major winter and summer sales periods are the high points of this major industry which throughout the year offers opening times and other attractions to appeal to clients always in search of something new. Sunday has also become synonymous with shopping with the exceptional opening of shops in seven touristic areas such as Montmartre, the Marais or the Champs-Élysées. All the top international brands love Paris. For example, the Italian label Prada, which reopens its historic boutique (shop or store) on rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré or the new Lancel boutique(shop or store), at the top of the Champs- Élysées. The latter, renovated by designer Christophe Pillet, is now the label’s biggest shop in Paris, with 1,000 m² : the label celebrates its 135th anniversary this year. More exclusive and confidential luxury labels like Goyard and Moynat rub shoulders with such eminent brands as Louis Vuitton and Dior. And because well-being is also of great importance in Paris, it is always possible to relax and unwind in one of the capital’s best spas, health institutes or beauty salons.


Paris is becoming even better for a night out.

The new website Parisnightlife.fr makes it easy for night owls to discover the exceptional number of concerts, festivals and events that make up the Paris nightlife scene. Parisian panache, the mix of genres and periods, the purposeful lack of taste, etc., there is something for all tastes in the capital, from the newly made-over bar of the Lapérouse, to the recent 114 by Puma Social at Oberkampf, a new rock bar with concerts and happenings, not forgetting the Silencio, the new Parisian club, expected to be a huge success thanks to its conception signed David Lynch.


Paris innovates with creative tourism.

Museums and monuments are still attracting more visitors as shown by visitor figures, more than 70 million each year. Temporary exhibitions are also hugely popular, some years drawing up to 10 million visitors, even more. Even more significant in 2012 will be the growing trend in creative tourism, one of the pillars of cultural, participative and sustainable tourism. The website creativeparis.info already comprises more than 400 creative tourism offers in Paris to date.


Paris, a green and eco-responsible destination.

With its 400 public parks and gardens and its efficient 16-line, 100-year-old metro system, Paris offers tourists all its ecological advantages. The introduction of bus lanes has facilitated traffic circulation in the capital and the successful Parisian tramway is being extended from the Porte de Vincennes to the Porte de Chapelle in 2012, as well as to neighbouring communes. Not to mention the resounding success of the Vélib’ self-service rental bicycles, which have inspired the Autolib’ project, a self-service electric car hire scheme launched in 2011. The city’s taxis have also been updated with clearer signage and a fleet of hybrid vehicles. The city has also invested in its fluvial network with Batobus, linking the major tourist sites, and Voguéo, the new river shuttle bus that links Paris to other towns along the Seine, with three additional lines created between now and the end of 2013, from Suresnes to Maisons-Alfort and Vitry-sur-Seine, passing by the Eiffel Tower, Invalides and the musée d’Orsay. Protection of the environment is also gaining ground in the hotel sector, with ecological labels, like Green Key, Ecolabel or Green Globe, already awarded to many Parisian hotels.

To give a boost to environmental awareness issues, the Paris City Council has devised an unusual initiative in the form of an annual treasure hunt in Paris, which encourages familiarization with local areas and their history through ‘urban walks’ organized by the Tourisme Equitable et Solidaire (Solidarity and Fair-trade tourism) . And Paris at last has green lungs and eco-districts like the ecological garden in the Rungis ZAC, the lawns of the Auteuil racecourse and the Clichy Batignolles district.


Paris is changing.

Every day the city pushes the boundary limits a little further. First of all virtually: the city is connected to the whole world thanks to its Wi-Fi network in public parks and gardens, in cafes and at other cultural venues. Then geographically, the capital is investing in its outlying areas and establishing links with its neighbouring communes. While La Défense, Versailles and Marne-la-Vallée have already been assimilated into the extension of Paris beyond its périphérique (ring road) other towns are quickly doing the same: north-east Paris is extending the 18th and 19th arrondissements towards Saint-Denis and Aubervilliers; the east of Paris is drawing up new boundaries beyond the Porte des Lilas. The capital’s urban and architectural ambitions will also be in evidence in a canopy, in the district of Les Halles which is currently undergoing a total transformation, in the new Seine- side development in the Beaugrenelle district, or in the new towers, Phare and Triangle, strengthening Paris’s position as a city that is a leader in the construction of tomorrow’s world. As for the cultural sector, there is plenty happening: the musée d’Orsay had a makeover in 2011 and now has huge galleries redesigned by Willmotte, designer furniture, and elegant lighting for this showcase of the finest collection of Impressionist paintings in France.

Ambitious new projects are eagerly-awaited: the Fondation Louis- Vuitton for artistic creation, in a building designed by Frank O. Gehry, in the Jardin d’Acclimatation; the Fondation Pathé, devoted to cinema, in the Gobelins district; and also the Philharmonie de Paris, a huge symphony hall designed by Jean Nouvel, in the Parc de la Villette. The Cité européene du cinéma by Luc Besson will open this year at the Portes de Paris, in the Pleyel district at Saint-Denis. And the Ile Seguin and the Vallée de la culture project get underway with the upcoming launch of the 30,000 m² modular art centre, which will house some 20 or so galleries, an exhibition space in a huge hall, three sales rooms, a conference room … all close to private foundations. These openings are a continuation of the transformations and developments already taking place in the capital.



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