Since the attacks last year, opinions on Paris as a secure destination for corporate groups have been divided. While Zibrant's chairman Nigel Cooper argues that Paris is still a popular city, he acknowledges that the industry makes a lot of destination decisions based on perception.
"Paris has recently suffered two terrorist attacks, with more people killed in November than any recent events in Turkey. But it's closer to home and to the UK market and it doesn't feel much riskier than London," he explains. "The media play a role in our perceptions of destinations as well, and although Paris might feel riskier for people travelling from different parts of the world, such as Asia, it feels comparatively safe to us."
However, not all companies are so keen to go. BCD Meetings & Events' Anthony Coyle-Dowling says the agency has recently made alternative arrangements for a group of 100 delegates, who were due to visit Paris for an event in January but backed out due to security fears. However, despite some concerns in the market, he believes the city will bounce back quickly, in the same way London did after the 2005 attacks.
"Paris was off the cards for us for a few weeks during the aftermath of the attacks last year," explains DSM's Alise Long, whose company operates a stringent safety and security policy. "We had a big conference in Amsterdam and a number of people went to Paris after the conference and were in the city during the attacks. We were able to track them down immediately using our travel agency's tracking system and get them out of the country very quickly."
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