Paris announces Autumn reopening for linchpin business events

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One of Europe's largest venue operators, Viparis, is planning to reopen its doors to conferences, trade fairs, and exhibitions in September after losing some 300 events to the coronavirus lockdown.

The organisation, which manages nine venues across the Paris region, including Palais des Congrés de Paris and Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, said it would reopen for business in the Autumn.

It follows an announcement from the Defence and National Security Council signalling the gradual easing of lockdown measures with respect to a range of situations, including large gatherings.

More than 40 events are scheduled for September alone.

The Palais des Congrés will host the French Chartered Accountants Summer Fairs (1-3 September); the 40th annual conference of the French Haematology Society (9-11 September; and the congress of the French Society of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, SFAR, (24-26 September).

SFAR administrative director Raphael Martin said: “The hallmarks of this annual event are goodwill, progress and innovation. After months of intense commitment to combating COVID-19, our members are eager to come together to discuss, learn and share their experiences. This event is an important milestone for our association and for the professionals that make up our community.”

Social distancing measures would be installed at all events, similar to those enforced in office environments, and Viparis CEO Pablo Cerruti confirmed these protocols would be the ‘new normal’.

Speaking at a virtual press conference today, he said: “Our venues will carry the ‘Safe V’ label which mean certain protocols have been followed. We will know who is in the venue, how many people, and where they have come from. We might lower or strengthen these protocols, but I foresee these measures being the new normal from now on.”

He said 300 events had been postponed or cancelled at Viparis venues between March 14 and August 31, but that the group was looking forward to welcoming visitors in two months’ time.

He added: “Business meetings are one of the linchpins of our economic recovery and Paris will maintain its appeal as a business destination and its leading international position.”

Cerruti said the business events industry was worth €5.5bn to the French economy every year – an economic boost roughly equivalent to hosting the Olympic Games, which Paris does in 2024.

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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