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FranceISSUE 66 / ConfErEnCE & MEEtIngS World / 67A taste of FrancefranCE, WIth ovEr 76 MIllIon toUrIStS a yEar, IS thE MoSt popUlar holIday dEStInatIon In thE World. ItS MEEtIngS IndUStry aCCoUntS for 10 pEr CEnt of all travEllErS CoMIng to thE CoUntry. CMW lookS at SoME kEy CEntrES and What thEy havE to offErccording to the Atout France national tourism agency, MICE inbound travellers account for 35 per cent of tourist spend in France.France is a European leader for agriculture and food, pharmaceuticals and aeronautics industries, and with its chemicals ranked second and ICT third, there are plenty of key economic sectors driving conference business.The direct impact of the conference and events industry each year in France is put at ?7.4bn by Atout France. Indirect spending is ?30bn.Global eye-catching events include the Paris Motor Show, the Paris International Agricultural Show, as well as Vinexpo in Bordeaux-Lac Parco Expo. Bordeaux will host the ITS World Congress in 2015 for intelligent transport systems and services (worth ?6m). While Batimat in Paris is the world's largest construction event and MIPIM in Cannes the place for the world's real estate top players to meet.Strasbourg is a seat of important political meetings and 1,881km of high-speed rail lines and 157 airports, mean France can offer good connections to its hinterland of host cities and venues.WordS paul colstonabove: Meet in style in parisAInternational corporate events exceeded our pre-recession 2008 resultsviparis sales director laurent chironEight French venues were awarded 'Palace' status in May 2011 by the Ministry of Tourism, a category created from among five-star hotels that were judged to have 'exceptional characteristics embodying French excellence'. They include the Hotel du Palais Biarritz, Le Cheval Blanc Courchevel and Le Bristol Paris. Of course, the 'real' Palace of Versailles has quite a conference heritage.Quality controlA Quality and Sustainable Development charter was launched

France68 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / ISSUE 66Villepinte (where there has been a recent upgrade to the RER rail service). Viparis welcomes 125 conferences and 500 corporate events each year. International conferences represent 30 per cent of the business.Viparis Sales Director Laurent Chiron says 2011 was a record year, with highlights including the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, with 5,000 delegates at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, and the European Society of Cardiology Congress at Paris Nord Villepinte with 32,000 delegates."International corporate events exceeded our 2008 results (before the downturn), although we noticed enquiries becoming very short-term. There might be a turn back to basics with organisers offering fewer frills," says Chiron. Viparis installed the 'Amphi 8000' at Paris Le Bourget from November 2011 up to February 2012: a ready-to-use theatre with a seating capacity for 8,200 delegates.Of the capital's numerous hotels, The InterContinental Paris Le Grand marks its 150th birthday this year. The building was Napoleon III's showpiece hotel to impress visitors to Expo 1867 and, to mark the anniversary, there is a temporary The number of major conference centres in France ATOUT FRANCE120by France Congres at the start of 2011, intended to apply to all conference venues and raise environmental responsibility all round.France has 120 major conference centres and 2,000 structures capable of hosting at least 200 people. Fifteen convention centres have capacity in excess of 4,000.ParisParis is number three city in the world in terms of the number of headquarters for the global top 500 companies. It is also No.3 in the latest International Congress and Convention Association city rankings, after Vienna and Barcelona, hosting 147 qualifying association meetings.Paris hosts 80 conferences a month and its meetings firepower is illustrated by The European Society of Cardiology Congress which drew 30,000 participants in August 2011, an event that brought in ?90m.Viparis is the leading venue conglomerate in Paris, embracing 10 major centres: Le Palais des Congrès de Paris, Espace Grande Arche, Le Palais des Congrès d'Issy, Espace Champerret, Paris Le Bourget, Palais des Congrès de Versailles, Cnit Paris La Défense, Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, Carrousel du Louvre and Paris Nord Above and Below: Mickey has Business Solutions, too, at Disneyland Parisdaily delegate rate of ?150.Paris is famed for its food and shopping, always a delegate draw. The Galeries Lafayette store offers delegates VIP shopping experiences and wine tasting.Meeting MickeyDisneyland Paris offers several meetings spaces on its territory and 8,200 rooms in 14 hotels.There are two convention centres with three plenary rooms each seating over 2,100 people. There is also an amphitheatre with 570 seats and 95 meeting rooms seating up to 600.Disneyland Paris Business Solutions' Yann Vilair identifies shorter lead times and fewer participants at events as key trends in 2011. "Yet revenue per room increased. Events have become more meeting centric, with fewer evening