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Coronavirus: MIPIM will ‘go ahead as scheduled’, say organisers

Mipim 2018 palais
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MIPIM, the annual international property fair in south-east France, will go ahead next month despite concerns over the spread of coronavirus across Europe

The organisers insisted the event in Cannes, which attracts more than 26,000 attendees including hundreds of UK architects, would be ‘open for business as scheduled’ despite the serious outbreak in nearby Lombardy, north-west Italy.

Italy is the most infected country outside Asia, with 322 cases reported so far, and the threat of contagion of the virus has already caused the annual Milan Furniture Fair to be postponed from April to June.  

The team behind MIPIM, which is set to run between 10-13 March, said it was not planning to cancel the 2020 event but added that its ‘absolute priority’ was the ‘health and safety’ of delegates.

Organisers said they ‘continued to follow the guidance provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding travel and participation at major events such as MIPIM’ and had updated ‘measures related to coronavirus’.

In an email sent to delegates, MIPIM director Ronan Vaspart said the event had increased its hygiene measures and had ‘reinforced [the] presence of dedicated medical specialists’ within the main seafront Palais des Festival conference hall.

Vaspart said the precautions included more ‘onsite signage and trained staff’ to remind visitors of WHO hygiene recommendations as well as ‘reinforced cleaning of all zones within the Palais des Festivals venue [and] hydro-alcoholic hand gel in all public spaces’.

However, on social media, there appeared to be growing unease about attending the fair, which last year hosted more than 6,000 UK visitors (see tweets below). Meanwhile property agents Knight Frank and Cushman & Wakefield were both reported to have cancelled their plans to attend the event. Architect HOK has also confirmed it has withdrawn from MIPIM.

Even so, the delegation from the Italian Trade Agency/Invest in Italy told the AJ it had no current plans to drop out. A spokesperson for Milan and the Lomardy region, which is set to have a stand at the 2020 show, added: ‘At the moment, the city of Milano and Lombardy region – together with their private partners – are confirmed at MIPIM.

‘Of course we are dealing with the situation “per hour”, so we will see what the authorities will give us further instructions about entering France, or not.’  

 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • We should question the value of MIPIM (and other events such as BCO Conference). In my experience a large part of MIPIM is 1000s of people flying from the UK only to meet with others from the UK, often from the same part of the UK. This seems to make little sense to me when we are all looking for ways to reduce environmental impact in our work. Is it time for us to try to capture the essence of MIPIM in the UK, it seems Brighton, Bournemouth & Blackpool have adequate infrastructure to accommodate large numbers of people, if being by the sea is an important component of such events.

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