With less than two weeks to go, the 12th MAPIC, the International Market for Retail Real Estate , is on course to set a new attendance record in all sectors of the market, from property professionals to retailers and local authorities. The new record confirms MAPIC's standing as the world's leading international exhibition for the retail real estate industry.
With 8,000 delegates expected from 62 countries compared to 7,200 last year, attendance has grown about 12% in just twelve months.
The 20% expansion of the exhibition area at MAPIC is attracting a total of 830 exhibitors.
Key territories from around the world have significantly increased their presence at this year's event. Russia offers a striking example with 73 exhibiting firms compared to 36 last year, a rise of 103%, while Germany is posting a 48% increase in exhibitors with 31 firms, and Spain's exhibition presence is up 39% with 52 firms.
This year MAPIC is also welcoming newcomers from Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and India, all countries showing dynamic growth and outstanding vitality in the retail real estate sector.
Another spectacular increase this year is the number of retail developers attending : 1,700 expected this year compared to 1,500 last year.
Since high street trading is a key driver of urban renewal, more and more city authorities are trying to showcase their development schemes to retail real estate professionals in an effort to attract retail brands and property projects.
Whether as exhibitors or visitors, a hundred local authorities will be attending this year, a 27% increase over last year.
26 cities will be showcasing their activities in the exhibition area, with such first-timers as Moscow, Ulianovsk (Russia), Dunkerque and Versailles (France). There is an increase in attendance from Italian cities, with Genoa, Sviluppo Lazio (the Roman region's development agency), Provenzia di Cosenza and Porto Turistico Mariona di Ragusa all set to attend MAPIC.
Many representatives of local authorities are interested by the MAPIC concept, since it provides them with better insight into the retail property sector and helps make vital contacts for developing their city centres. First-timers attending as visitors this year include Jiujiang (China), Madrid (Spain) and the Walloon region (Belgium) represented by its President. There is a strong French urban presence at MAPIC with Toulouse, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Besançon and Rouen attending for the first time. Paris will also be at MAPIC, represented by Lynn Cohen Solal, deputy Mayor of Paris responsible for commerce. The cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Belfast will also be attending from the United Kingdom.
To encourage the sharing of experience and good practices among cities, MAPIC 2006 is premiering its City Club with a conference cycle called 'Shop in the City', featuring several European cities that have developed different strategies for commercial growth.