The France Congress & Events seminar boosts business destinations

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From 24 to 26 October, Cannes Town Council and the Palais des Festivals and the Congress played host to the Seminar of France Congrès et Evénements, the association which brings together French towns and cities with a congress centre and chaired by Philippe Augier, Mayor of Deauville.

Hosted by David Lisnard, around a hundred decision makers - elected officials and business leaders - took part in a dense programme, ranging from discovering the destination to forward thinking discussions on major issues affecting business tourism.  France is the fifth top business tourism destination in the world.  The business events business (Trade shows, congresses, seminars, incentive travel, etc.), which generates almost 7.5 billion euros at the national level, is experiencing strong, growing international competition. 

French business destination decision makers met in Cannes at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, the biggest trade show centre in France, outside of Paris, over two days, and discussed vital topics such as regional attractiveness, shared experiences and defined best practices for their destinations.  “We were treated to a programme of very high quality, both in terms of the impeccable care that Cannes took in hosting the event and the interest in our work, which focused on two really major issues for us: the place of creativity and experimentation, digital transition, new competitive factors 5-10 years from now, etc. The strategic yet operational nature of our discussions were intended to be of directly interest to the local government authorities – members and their facilities.  As for the Innov&Tech approach, it gives us the chance to meet start-ups directly - a dozen participated - and ensures we can make better use of the innovative solutions.”  stated Philipphe Augier.

Three speeches stood out in particular, principally, for asking the right questions, so that everyone could find their own areas for improvement:

- Nicolas Colin, co-founder of TheFamily: digital transmission is having a big financial impact on destinations and regional competitiveness; it is a paradigm shift which requires a different way of operating that notably involves increased agility in the services and the information provided, greater adaptability, and ensuring the services provided are relevant, while at the same time taking account of local issues and the local government dimension which is a major component.  Digital creates systematic value, reconciles quality with large scale, providing data about a destination in all its forms online and in real time. 

In the same vein, the mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard mentioned the importance of the value chain for hospitality, local services and customer experience.  He said that being competitive is not only about unfailingly meeting customer needs at the best prices, but it is also about having a unique selling point.

- Christopher Alaux, holds the Chair of ‘New Territorial Marketing’ in Aix en Provence: it is unique in Europe and the Town of Cannes is a partner; he addresses these issues and notably champions the interaction between experience and emotion, with rationale and factual.  The concept of brand is important, in particular for managing risks and crises.  This subject is always considered as key by the Mayor of Cannes, who considers that the brand has a unique identity, connected to a market and profitability.   He went on to say that brands, including regional and local government brands, must look to the long-term to be successful in the short-term.
- Jean Blaise, Chair of Mission Nationale d’Art et de Culture dans l’Espace Public: creativity is vital in the tourism economy to strengthen attractiveness and create value.  Philippe Augier, Mayor of Deauville, in turn spoke of the importance of revitalising heritage by new designs which give rise to communities and develop loyalty.

As for the Mayor of Cannes, he is convinced that the global approach for a destination involves harnessing creativity in the fields specific to the MICE sector, economic development, culture and events. And this creativity is driven by diversity.  After all Lord Brougham insisted: ‘Cannes is a global village’

Decision makers present (non-exhaustive list) included Jacques Belin, Director of the Centre International de Deauville; Rachel Bocher, Chair of La Cité des Congrès de Nantes; Mélissa Bueno, Director of the Palais des Congrès de Saint-Raphaël; Corinne Denuet, Director of the Palais des Congrès Atlantia de La Baule; Béatrice Cuif Mathieu, Director of the Grand Nancy Congrès & Evénements; Céline Delaunay, Manager of the Le Havre Congress office; Emmanuel Capus,  Deputy Mayor of Angers; Yann Clavillier, Director of the Tourist office of Lake Annecy; Stéphane Devrieux, Director of Saint-Etienne Tourisme; Yves Exbrayat, Director of the Tourist office of Grenoble-Alpes Métropole; Elisabeth Gondy, Chair of the Tourist Office of Valenciennes Métropole; Nicolas Martin, Director of Bordeaux Tourist Office; Yvette Maupilé, Councillor responsible for Tourism at Arcachon; Julien Nicolas, Director of the site in Paris; Paul Séchaud, Assistant Director General of Caen Event; Maxime Tissot, Director of the Marseille Congress and Tourist office and finally Marie-Catherine Vidal, Director of Lille Grand Palais all expressed their expectations in terms of services, leisure activities, development support and infrastructure assessment.

Two intense days of sharing ideas along with practical, positive discussions helped to highlight the growth ideas and convinced the partners of France Congrès & Evénements of the strengths of the destination.

Town council of Cannes press office
04 97 06 41 41 /
France Congrès & Evénements
Emmanuel Dupart, Assistant Director
06 72 70 06 94 /
Press office of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.
Elisabeth Lara, Manager
04 92 99 84 46 /

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