By Georges Panayotis, President & CEO - MKG Group
And yet Paris's reaction appeared as a defense against London's winning offensive, led full force by the Mayor himself, Boris Johnson, all too happy to demonstrate the positive and lasting windfall that the Olympics bestowed upon his fine city. By the same occasion, he added a little extra fuel to the fire of tense public relations between the two candidates at Paris City Hall. But the electoral campaign would be making a mistake if it were to follow that route. Paris deserves better than a face off backed by statistics. The response to our eternal rival across the Channel must be thought out and backed up.
After all, London has underhandedly pinched its European playmate and this may well be taken up as an opportunity for a healthy rebound by Paris's aediles. For while he guaranteed his city magnificent cultural promotions, Bertrand Delanoé never showed much interest in Paris's tourist activity. Like many politicians who look on in rapture at the accumulation of numbers, he took it for granted that tourism did not require support, valorization or magnification. Would that the collections of Paris's star designers, great exhibitions, bi-annual sales and year-end celebrations alone suffice to maintain the City of Light's global reputation and generate ever-growing incoming traffic…
Resting on one's laurels can lead to arrogance or indolence. Today London, and tomorrow maybe Berlin, Rome or Barcelona will pick up the baton to humble the world capital of tourism. Now that the electoral campaign for the next Mayor of Paris is underway, it might be constructive to hear the two candidates discuss their visions of tourism development, the importance they confer upon this essential economic activity that is cruelly suffering today from a lack of renewal of its equipment and room capacity.
At the next Global Lodging Forum, we will publicly open the tribune for them to address the professionals in attendance. If we need to silence our eternal rival, let us do so with an ambition and through actions that will support Paris's position in the years to come.