Last October, at the invitation of Atout France, about 120 hosted buyers from more than 30 countries converged for a few days in Strasbourg. The aim? To promote the French regions among international business tourism professionals and especially give them a taste of the Alsatian capital. Rémi Dévé reports
France Meeting Hub is all about educational tours, incentives and workshops. If the hosted meeting planners could meet with suppliers from all over France, the general focus was on Alsace and in particular Strasbourg. At Strasbourg Convention & Exhibition Centre, currently undergoing a massive refurbishment/extension, they conversed and networked in a relaxed but professional atmosphere.
In fact, it was a rare occasion for them to find out what the main congress centre in Alsace can offer. If participants thought Strasbourg was just about half-timber houses and narrow lanes, set against a backdrop of EU institutions, the city is also refreshingly up-to-date as it is investing in the extension of the convention centre. Close to the European institutions, the structure will form a unique multipurpose complex. In 2016, the existing 3 auditoriums, for up to 1,800 people, and the 25 committee rooms, accommodating up to 500 participants, will be complemented by 10,000 m² (currently 9,000 m²) of adaptable space for exhibitions, catering and conferences.
In addition, Strasbourg will next year be accessible like never before. If accessibility is paramount in our industry, then Strasbourg is on the right pace: in April 2016, Paris will be just 1h48, Frankfurt 1h42 and Brussels 3h33 away from the Alsatian capital, thanks to the TGV, the French high-speed train.
But what made France Meeting Hub unique for participants was the chance to discover what Strasbourg is really all about. Highlights of the trip included the gala dinner at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, a visit of the Council of Europe, and some fun incentives at the Château de Pourtalès (perfect for this kind of activities for up to 450 people). All in all, there were many opportunities for exhibitors and meeting planners to get together.
I personally enjoyed two new, very different venues: Shadok, a digital factory which addresses the issues raised by the digital revolution and which can also serve as a venue for a dinner or a trendy cocktail, and Villa Quai Sturm, a beautifully renovated mansion complete with high ceilings and stucco friezes which was once a German casino!
Meet Strasbourg at ibtm world in Barcelona on the French Space booth D50 17-19 November or contact Mireille Dartus, Director, Strasbourg Convention Bureau at
firstname.lastname@example.org - www.mystrasbourg.com
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