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Paris Ranks as World’s Top Meetings Destination

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranked Paris the world’s number one destination for meetings, outpacing the second-place holder, Vienna, by a margin of 40 meetings.

Once again, Paris has proved itself to be a leader and Viparis has helped the capital maintain this leadership through the Paris Convention Center, Europe’s largest conference venue. The center has completed its first full year of welcoming very large-scale international conferences.

With a total of 212 international meetings in 2018 that comply with ICCA’s criteria—against 190 in 2017—Paris is more than 40 meetings ahead of Vienna, the runner-up, with 172 events. The top five destination cities also includes Madrid (165), Barcelona (163) and Berlin (162). In second place in 2017, and first the year before that, Paris has consistently occupied one of the top two spots in ICCA’s rankings since 2010.

The opening of the Paris Convention Centre in late 2017 at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles exhibition complex significantly contributed to Paris’s return to the number one spot. The center has already hosted major European and international conferences, such as that of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), which drew some 23,000 delegates.

The Paris Convention Center also hosted the International Liver Conference, with 10,000 attendees, as well as the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, which drew a record-breaking 7,000 visitors. In addition to being the largest conference venue in Europe, the center offers outstanding modularity, which is key for meeting event organizers’ needs. Another Viparis venue, the Palais des Congrès de Paris, successfully hosted LIVES, the 31st annual congress of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, with more than 6,500 participants, and the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, with 13,000 participants. Attendance at these two events was 20 to 25% higher in Paris than in previous editions.

“We are very pleased with these results—reaching number one is a great collective achievement,” says Corinne Menegaux, managing director, Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Paris is a renowned destination, with tourist sites and range of leisure activities. In recent years, however, the city has also demonstrated real momentum, with a willingness to develop, modernize and optimize its facilities and infrastructure. Hospitality and customer experience remain our top priorities. Business tourism is a major asset for Paris: trade shows and conferences generate €5.5 billion in economic benefits each year and have a direct impact on employment (85,000 full-time equivalent positions). In 2018, the Tourist Office provided support for more than 300 conferences and major events, and submitted 148 bids.”

We are proud to play a part in enhancing Paris’s international reputation,” adds Pablo Nakhlé Cerruti, chief executive officer of Viparis. “These results once again demonstrate Viparis’s expertise in hosting major events. In the field of large-scale international meetings, the competition is increasingly fierce, and Paris’s leading ranking – far from being a given – requires that we continue our efforts. The Paris Convention Center has hosted six conferences since it opened eighteen months ago, and 23 more have already been booked through 2023. Starting in 2019, the center will welcome the joint congresses of the European Society of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation, with an expected 35,000 attendees.”

Paris’s return to ICCA’s top-ranked position, as well as the excellent results of recent years, also attest to the successful promotional efforts by professionals in the international events sector, in collaboration with the Conference Unit of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The ICCA publishes its annual ranking of meeting destinations based on three eligibility criteria: meetings must rotate between at least three countries, occur regularly, and attract a minimum of 50 participants. Since international meetings represent less than 20 percent of all events held each year in the capital, the ICCA’s statistics should be viewed in light of the aggregate figures for the Parisian conference sector. 

Every day, the Conference Unit of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau strives to boost Paris’s appeal, providing assistance and advice to associations organizing large-scale events in the French capital. Bringing together Paris’s leading stakeholders in the business tourism sector, the Unit encourages and supports trade associations that want to put forward Paris as a host city. For more info, visit https://en.convention.parisinfo.com.

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