Candidacies of major cities to host the Olympics, World Championships, Expos... stimulate planning of new equipment that accelerates territorial planning, but it needs to have an afterlife following the event. TourInvest 2015 welcomed host-cities from the past and present as well as candidates, who shared the keys to success as well as the pitfalls to avoid.
Walloon tourism represents 6.12% of the GDP and annual spending in accommodations is 231.5 million euros. The region is a major destination for local clientèle, whether Dutch or Flemish, and we are seeing constant growth in French and German visitors, as well as tourists from outside Europe, particularly from emerging nations. For example we have regular connections to Chinese provinces. Three quarters of our industry revolve around leisure tourism, but the MICE sector is also developing in cities and in more rural areas. Mons benefited from status as the European Capital of Culture in 2015. It should be observed that the city, which has just barely 100,000 residents and 500,000 in the surrounding area, hosted close to 1.6 million visitors before the event. This status as European Capital of Culture was an economic growth lever, and stimulated jobs and the development of new infrastructures. We now have more hotels in the city as well as a Convention Center. Starting with Culture, we were able to generate economic results. As far as concerns this type of international event, just participating in this unity building approach produced results in the cities in terms of investments and territorial development. This phenomenon was observed when Liège presented its candidacy to host an Expo in 2017.
Bruno Goval, Manager Tourist Office Lille
Before becoming European Capital of Culture en 2004, Lille underwent a complete metamorphosis, particularly with the creation of the Euralille neighborhood. At the time we, had created a committee to consider projects that could promote the agglomeration, particularly by presenting its candidature to host a World Expo. Although we did not win the bid, the process earned the city two years of publicity worldwide, and helped us better understand how to prepare our applications. We then successfully tried the experience once again to become European Capital of Culture in 2004. The event was a real success, with close to 9 million visitors and 193 towns in the region that benefited from its windfall. Since it would have been unfortunate to be satisfied with this success alone, we are continuing to host events every two/three years, particularly with Lille 3000. It allows us to strengthen our awareness among international tourists, who elect the city for weekends and short stays, and to increase their share of arrivals in the city. We have thus observed a 3 to 4% increase in hotel rates in recent years. The economy segment is very est concerned about hosting events as it is outside the cultural and touristic sphere; it is an economic lever: today businesses are fewer and fewer to hesitate before establishing themselves in the region.
François Navarro, General Regional Manager of the Paris Ile-de France Regional tourist board
The Ile-de-France needs to welcome major events such as the Universal Exhibition of 2025 and the Olympics in 2024, since we must systematically create a need for visitors to come into the region and shed light on the destination. This is all the more important since today we are in an industrial war with our competitors and friends such as London. Tourism in the Ile-de-France represents 500,000 jobs and 21 billion in economic windfall and if we miss this kind of event, it means that many jobs fewer and that much less windfall for the destination. As far as the hotel supply in the region is concerned, with 150,000 rooms in the Ile-de-France region, our capacity is enough to host the Olympic Games and Universal Exhibition, with respect to what is requested by the organizational committees. Nonetheless, new developments will certainly be necessary since we do not yet know what our hotel supply will look like in a decade or so. The challenge concerns transportation more, with Grand Paris and the CDG Express, and if Paris is selected then we will save time in these regards. In the end, the goal is not to welcome more visitors, but to offer them a better welcome and loosen the stranglehold Grand Paris has on the capital. 25 billion euros in economic windfall are expected for Expo 2025, which is more than for the Olympics which will have a more Parisian than French outreach.
- Tourinvest Forum 2015 - follow updates here!
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