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Paris agrees congress charter to win back business

Convention bureau says the city is receiving requests again after a 'very low' January and February period

Pictured: Hotel groups including Accor and Starwood have signed the Paris congress charter

Parisian hoteliers, tourism bosses and the convention bureau have agreed a new ‘congress charter’ to make the French capital more attractive to international meetings.

Groups representing 651 hotels and more than 75,000 rooms have signed the charter in association with the City of Paris, the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Paris Tourism and Congress Office. Hotel groups to sign up include Accor, Carlson Rezidor and Starwood.

Initial discussions regarding the charter began last summer, but the November terror attack on Paris ‘accelerated’ the agreement after suffering a ‘low’ January and February. 

Under the terms of the charter, which is applicable to major congresses of more than 1,000 participants organised by not-for-profit organisations, hoteliers have agreed on four things: predictable price policies, fixed terms and conditions of sale and room release, allotment management policy, and commitments to quality.

Paris Convention Bureau congress director Cécile Mairaville said: “The Charter is a welcome message we want to display to all the international associations. The co-working sessions had started last June, and it was urgent to accelerate the signing.

“We can see now that the requests for proposals (RFPs) are coming back. January and February were very low. Now starting from March, the RFPs are coming again. The trend is good.”

Paris was recently rated the second most popular destination among rotating international associations in the 2015 International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) rankings, but the city slipped to seventh in the ‘alternative rankings’ for meetings in excess of 300 delegates. 

Mairaville added that Paris had seen a 33 per cent increase in the number of participants and the 52 conventions visited the city for the first time last year.

A number of large scale congresses have confirmed business in the city since the November attacks, Mairaville added, including the 8,000 delegate European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, and the 2,500 attendee European Association of Cranio Maxilo Facial Surgery.

“2015 was remarkable for the continued confidence demonstrated by conference organisers and for the higher rate of foreign participation at meetings taking place in Paris,” she said. 

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