Paris, je t’aime

Ten years ago, in Woody Allen’s film ‘Midnight in Paris’, screenwriter Gil Pender, says; “For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.” Walking the streets of Paris today, it still feels that way…

Bridges spoke with Corinne Menegaux, managing director of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.

What impact did the pandemic have on your role and how are you preparing for the future?

One of the main roles of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau is to support tourism professionals of the sector. This mission showed all its meaning during the health crisis, and we set up various ways of keeping the link and helping them: virtual meetings, sharing metrics, webinar with foreign markets… We even created a Caring attitude charter to reassure customers! In the meantime, of course, we pursued our relationships with foreign markets to promote Paris. What we learned is that this crisis had accelerated emerging trends linked to local experience, and search for sustainability.

We have been working on this for years, but it has become a major topic for the future. We launched the «assises du tourisme durable» last July to work closely with professionals on common actions for the next few years: mobility, promotion of local neighborhoods and greater Paris, impact of major events. We are launching ‘Parislocal’ next November to promote local actors such as restaurants, artists, artwork…A different way of making tourists and residents discover the city together.

The Japanese love Paris. No doubt about that!

Corinne Menegaux, Managing Director of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau

How important are Japanese visitors and businesses here in France to the Parisian economy?

The Japanese love Paris. No doubt about that! We have a long history with Japan: 2018 was the celebration of 160 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries. And Paris is still one of the top cities visited by Japanese. In 2019, Japanese represented 462,000 hotel arrivals for 1.8% of total arrivals and 3.6% of international arrivals. These visitors spend an average of 179€ / day/ person vs 116€ for average visitors. Duration of stay is also higher than others with 4-9 nights (total spending of 884€/person per stay).

But more than figures, cultural bridges are key in our relationship with Japan: we share a common taste for a certain « art de vivre » (heritage, architecture, gastronomy…) and a passion for sports. The 2023 Rugby world cup will be an opportunity for us to welcome back some Japanese visitors. So as said, Japanese visitors are very important for Paris, and we are looking forward to welcoming them back to our beautiful city!

What does the future hold for Paris, particularly with the Tokyo 2020 handover to Paris 2024?

Paris’s candidacy for the Olympics and Paralympics Games was based on very clear principles and values, such as sustainability, the establishment of a legacy for the territories or the improvement of infrastructures. The Games will be a huge opportunity to accelerate changes in tourism infrastructures and sustainable mobility.

These games will also be a vector of recovery after this health crisis. 13 million tickets are supposed to be sold for the competition, which gives a first glimpse of attendance at that time, although the ambition of the Games is not tourist attendance during the period itself, but the incredible lighting it will give to the city and the impact on the imagination of tourists before and after. All eyes will be on Paris. The city will have a great opportunity to show its hospitality and its diversity.

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