On 12 May 2020, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) published its annual country and city rankings of the most popular destinations for international meetings. For the second year in a row, Paris has taken the top spot, pulling even farther ahead of other European cities.
Paris's ranking as the world's number one conference destination, as well as the excellent results obtained in recent years, are a reflection of the successful promotional achievements by sector professionals, in partnership with the Conference Unit of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.
With a total of 237 international meetings in 2019 that fulfill the ICCA's criteria* – against 212 in 2018 – Paris is 47 meetings ahead of Lisbon, the runner-up (190 meetings). In 2018, Paris led Vienna by 40 meetings. The City of Light has thus pulled even further ahead of the second-place winner, as well as Berlin (176 meetings) and Barcelona (156 meetings). This is the third time in five years that Paris has won the coveted top ranking, proof of its enduring appeal.
Viparis tireless efforts have allowed it to maintian this lead. In its second full year of activity, Paris Convention Centre (Europe's largest conference venue) hosted the World Congress of Cardiology from 31 August to 4 September 2019. Organised by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and with more than 33,000 participants from twenty different countries, it was not only the most well-attended ESC congress, but also the largest congress ever held in Europe to date. Paris Convention Centre also hosted the 37th Congress of the European Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons (8,200 attendees). Paris Expo Porte de Versailles hosted the IAAPA Expo Europe, Europe's number one leisure industry event, with 8,500 attendees.
For its part, the Palais des Congrès de Paris successfully hosted three congresses that each drew more than 4,000 participants: EURETINA 2019 by the European Society of Retina Specialists, the 47th annual World Chemistry Congress, and the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases.
One of the year's highlights for the Palais des Congrès d’Issy was the Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, while attendees of the World Hydropower Congress gathered at Espace Grande Arche.
Viparis is acutely aware of the challenges currently facing every stakeholder in the events sector, and is preparing to reopen for business in early September 2020. Together with Bureau Veritas, the group has created a unique set of health safety guidelines for its venues. In the future, the resulting label, called "SAFE V", will be deployed by the entire events industry.
Lastly, a certain number of international associations were obliged to postpone or cancel their events slated to be held in Paris in 2020 (or transform them into digital gatherings). In support of these bodies, Viparis has decided to offer them a one-year membership in the ICCA Association Community. This group, launched in January 2020, provides a forum for international event organising professionals where they can discuss the challenges they face in their efforts to become stronger and more resilient in the future.
The capital's leading position is the result of a public/private partnership involving key destination stakeholders, with the City of Paris and Viparis foremost among them.
*The ICCA publishes its annual ranking of meeting destinations based on three eligibility criteria: meetiings must rotate between at least three countries, occur regularly, and attract a minimum of 50 participants. Since international meetings represent less than 20% 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.
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