All over the world, Nancy is known for its famous Place Stanislas, one of the most beautiful royal squares in Europe, with its famous gilded wrought-iron gates. But beyond the old town and its many museums, Nancy quietly cultivates a certain art de vivre, but also a city-wide approach that has been instrumental in getting it ready to operate again, when meetings are allowed to take place, from 1 September on.
DESTINATION NANCY, the destination marketing organization of the city, wears four different hats: they host and organize events at the Prouvé Convention Center and Nancy Exhibition Centre; but they also act as a convention bureau and dedicated tourist office for the whole metropolitan area. As such, they strongly believe in face-to-face meetings, and have, as early as March 2020 when the pandemic was spreading quickly, adopted strict health protocols according to the formats of the events they would host, adapting them to each meeting venue and supporting customers because, after all, each conference is different.
“We have been able to overcome other crises, such as the terrorist attacks in 2015. The French government supports our sector because economic recovery requires the relaunch, among other activities of course, of the meetings industry. While digital solutions, with the emergence of webinars and such, have made the transition easier, they are insufficient. Meeting physically is essential. A medical congress must allow interactions, sometimes live case studies, real-life networking. Co-construction does not happen without people –only physically can you do that,” argues Béatrice Cuif-Mathieu, General Director of DESTINATION NANCY.
So, it’s the whole city that has been working hard at making sure they provide a safe environment for organizes and delegates alike. In France, the Greater East region has been greatly affected by Covid-19, so a ‘reassurance’ campaign was launched to make sure associations, among others, know they can be welcome in the city in the safest way possible.
This goes hand in hand with the ISO 20121 certification – it offers guidance and best practice to help you manage your event sustainably – that Nancy got in 2018. A pioneer in the sector, Nancy’s CSR approach is more and more a differentiator for association planners. The city now aims to become an international green destination like a handful of its French counterparts, working within the confines of a programme launched by France Congrès et Evénements, with the support of Green Evénements and the G7 General Secretariat (only 9 destinations in France are now engaged in this approach).