Paris jumped in the ranks in the latest ICCA city report, coming in first above Vienna as the world’s No. 1 destination for international association meetings, with a total of 212 meetings — 40 more than the runner-up. Part of the city’s success: the late 2017 opening of Europe’s largest conference venue, the Paris Convention Centre at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. Since its debut, the centre has hosted large-scale international conferences, including the 23,000-delegate European Respiratory Society’s International Congress 2018 last September.
“We are proud to play a part in enhancing Paris’s international reputation,” Pablo Nakhlé Cerruti, director general of Viparis, said in a release. “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.”
Since opening about 18 months ago, the Paris Convention Centre has hosted six conferences — and 23 are scheduled through 2023. This year, the centre will welcome the joint congresses of the European Society of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation, which will bring an estimated 35,000 attendees. The event marks the first World Congress of Cardiology under the new model, and it will now take place yearly, rather than every other year.
Over the past year, the centre has also hosted the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), which broke records with an attendance of 7,000. In addition, the Palais des Congrès de Paris 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 Venerology congress, with 13,000 participants. Recorded attendance rates were 20 to 25 percent higher in Paris than in past locations.
According to Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau Managing Director Corinne Menegaux, the tourist office provided support for over 300 conferences and events last year and submitted 148 bids. “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),” Menegaux said, according to Conference and Meetings World. “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, modernise, and optimise its facilities and infrastructure.”
Paris, which tied with Vienna for second place in last year’s list, previously topped the ICCA city rankings in 2016. In the current rankings, which cover 2018, Paris is followed by Vienna, Madrid, Barcelona (last year’s top city), and Berlin. From the Asia Pacific region, Singapore ranked eighth, with Bangkok in 10th position, knocking Seoul out of the top 10. The United States remains the top country for international association meetings, followed by Germany, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom. China is eighth on the country list.