A Breath of Conference Air in Paris

5th November 2018
© Hugo Michaudel

What more can be said about Paris, the most visited city in the world? Apart from old favourites like the Eiffel Tower or Le Louvre, there are always countless things to do, and you can return over and over and every time you will be in awe of the abundance of history, culture, and of course art de vivre. Paris is renewing itself all the time, and this is true when it comes to meetings. After all, the economic dynamism of Paris and its surrounding region has always relied on research and innovation – this is actually one of the reasons why the International Congress of the European Respiratory Society took place there in September.

While Paris accounts for 20% of the total Ile-de-France population, Paris Region’s multi-faceted economy is unparalleled in Europe, packed with high-tech clusters – there are eight national and global competitiveness clusters – and research centres that rank among the global and European leaders. Paris Region’s sectors of excellence range from aeronautics, cosmetics, health and biotechnologies to logistics and financial services, just to name a few.

Major draw

The city is a major attraction as a destination for association meetings, and many attendees of course opt to tag some leisure time onto their trip. Because attendance is so high in Paris, it is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for associations to broadcast their work to a larger audience and attract more sponsorship.

The International Congress of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) took place in Paris Convention Centre (Viparis)in September 2018. Serving as a platform to share the latest knowledge in the fields of respiratory medicine and science, the event is continuing the standards of previous years and retaining the position as the world’s largest meeting for respiratory physicians, scientists and allied health professionals, with around 420 scientific and educational sessions and a wide range of activities.

Pippa Powell, Director of the European Lung Foundation (ELF), the public and patient arm of the European Respiratory Society, explains: “With more than 20,000 participants from over 130 countries, the ERS is the largest congress in its field and therefore has a restricted number of cities as potential destinations that have the congress centre and infrastructure to support the ERS International Congress. Recent developments in this area in Paris meant that the destination became a possibility for the ERS. We have a broad membership and we also move around European cities to honour our members and make the congress accessible. We have many members in France and the members of SPLF, who are joint members of our Society, feel at home in France.”

In Paris, all stakeholders work hand in hand in order to provide an unmatched level of service to planners and delegates alike who, then, can make the most of the city. In this context, public authorities, suppliers, hotels, the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau constantly unify their efforts to promote, market and sell the destination to event organisers.

Testing the lungs

“Paris is of course a globally renowned city with much to offer. It has fantastic travel links and a wealth of culture,” says Pippa Powell. “As a congress destination however there are many challenges – not least the sheer size and expense. The Paris Convention Bureau provided support to the ELF in the run up to the ERS Congress to try and improve communication with the city of Paris. ELF runs all of the public outreach and legacy activities for the ERS, including lung function testing for the inhabitants of Paris. The Convention Bureau acted as an intermediate between ELF and city officials and were able to help us gain support of the city for our activities, advertising space in the city and a wonderful location for our public event. They also ensured the presence of some key city officials at our activities.”

The full version of this article, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, is available in the November issue of Boardroom, out soon. For more information on Paris:

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