Conference Design

Conferences Made Easier

1st December 2022

It’s a stat that says it all. When associations organize a conference in Paris, there is usually a 20 per cent increase in the attendance. But that doesn’t mean the French capital – which is ‘naturally’ attractive in a way – just sits there and rests on its laurels. In fact, Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau just launched two Welcome Charter that have been designed to make any event run even more smoothly. Corinne Menegaux, Managing Director, tells Boardroom all about it.

Words Remi Deve

This is a competitive world, especially when it comes to business events. Despite geopolitical uncertainties that are looming upon us, destinations have to differentiate themselves from each other and prove that they can deliver. 

Rigorous criteria

Medical Congresses in Paris

In Paris, medical conferences accounted for 41% of the total number of congresses organized in 2021, with 136 events. The healthcare sector always ranks first when it comes to hosting conferences in the French capital. In 2021, it attracted 149,760 participants, i.e. 28% of total delegates, the lowest share since 2018. Half of the medical congresses organized in Paris had more than 500 participants, and November was the busiest month, with 39 meetings and 65,453 participants.

Flagship events include conferences such as the ESMO 2022 Congress which took place early September 2022 at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. On this occasion, the oncology community resumed one of their most awaited annual in-person events – something they were not able to do for a long time.

The event brought together 29,000 delegates – medical and clinical oncologists, basic translational researchers, oncology nurses (but also all other oncology professionals, patient advocates, journalists, healthcare industry representatives, policy decision makers, and regulators), of whom around 5,000 joined the meeting online. High-quality education was delivered in more than 20 tracks covering all tumor types, and a deep-dive focus was given to practice-changing data, therapeutic innovations, translational research, and patient advocacy, with around 2000 abstracts.

Paris is no exception. If its historical attraction has been undisputed, it has to stay on top of its game and demonstrate its innate sense of hospitality every step of the way. In that regard, the Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau, together with all the stakeholders operating in the Paris tourism sector, have invested in making easier the hosting of conferences in the French capital, and signed two hosting charters which set out rigorous criteria designed to enable easier business traveller pathway.

“The idea is to gather the professionals of the tourism sector in Paris under one roof if I may say so,”explains Corinne Menegaux. “The ones who share the same values of excellence and hospitality and who can commit to making the experience of the planner and the delegate like no other. So far, we have about 50 signatories of the charters. It’s actually a work in progress.”

The charters describe the way institutions, hotels, venues, caterers, inbound tourism agents and transport companies work together to develop the appeal of the destination, in a whole-of-a-city approach. This implies personalized – and unified –support for sponsors, support letters, simplified terms and conditions of sale, technical management tracking, quota management, targeted prospecting, systematic application of quality commitments, etc. The list is quite long!

Menegaux adds that the ultimate good is to provide an event experience that is augmented, sustainable and innovative. “Augmented because we can help technologically make your event more visible on the world stage, sustainable in the broadest sense of the term because sustainability lies at the core of our strategy and not only from an environment perspective, and innovative for we make it easy to change your mindset about how you usually do things,” she says.

Impact & beyond

To take one step even further, the Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau is currently developing an impact calculation tool, scheduled to be launched in spring 2023. It will concretely measure the economic, social and environmental benefits of the events taking place in the French capital.

Menegaux argues: “Obviously, we’re interested in the economic impact business events generate for Paris and its surrounding region. But we’re also aware that organizations nowadays would also like to know the social and environmental impact they have on the local communities and how they create change with their events. This new tool will be designed just for that. And it will give us a competitive advantage in comparison to our more traditional competitors.”

All this, in addition to a renewed confidence in world that sees business events as an ideal platform for knowledge transfer, will definitely breathe life into the French capital’s sectors of excellence, including innovation, design / fashion, science, culture, gastronomy and sport. As it is preparing itself for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Paris has never been so ready to embrace association conferences that want to make a difference.


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