New home for Parasitec attracts plenty of visitors

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The French pest management event, Parasitec, was held in Paris from 16 to 18 November and it attracted some 3,000 visitors, making it one of the busiest such events ever held in the city.

The new venue, the Paris Event Center, near Porte de La Villette on the north west outskirts of the city had a much lighter, airier feel. The exhibitors generally agreed that it was a big improvement over the previous site which had felt more like an underground car park than an exhibition hall. That said, the surrounding neighbourhood was rather less salubrious.

Refugee crisis
The impact of the refugee crisis on mainland Europe was very much in evidence – something which, to a great extent, we have been insulated from here in the UK. With Parasitec taking place just three weeks after the closure of the migrant camp in Calais (known as the jungle) the speculation was that the ranks of those living on the streets had been swelled with an influx of Calais migrants adding to the problem. Not that the refugees were confined to the outskirts of Paris. They were also very much in evidence camped out in shop doorways just off the prestigious Champs Elysee in the heart of the city.

All of this, of course, is outside the control of the organisers, PC Media, the company which also publishes the French independent pest management magazine, N&Pi. That was something which Philippe Dommanget, the editor of that publication pointed out when Pest sat down with him and PC Media director, Pierre Kabouche, on the morning of the last day of the event.

Parasitec organisersThe Parasitec organisers, left to right Pierre Kabouche, Philippe Dommanget, Edouard Kabouche,
Jean Charles Pujol and Michel Debaissieux

All in all the organisers thought there were more positives than negatives to report. The exhibition was the biggest ever with 96 companies and organisations to visit. Indeed it filled the new exhibition hall so, if it expands again, the hunt may be on for yet another new venue. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming and the number of visitors, at around 3,000 (2,957 to be precise), was well up on the 2,760 recorded in 2014, when the event was last in Paris.

As Pierre Kabouche explained there were, in his view, four reasons for the increase in visitor numbers: “Firstly the natural increase which comes from additional exhibitors, each of whom promote the event to their customers and contacts.

“Secondly, as organisers we employed a press agency to communicate with the industries which are the customers of the pest control sector so the hygiene industry, those in the hospitality and hotel sector, local authorities, the food industry and so on. Thirdly, at an international level the event is now benefiting from holding events in alternate years in other countries. Some of the visitors who came to the event in Algiers, Casablanca and, last year, Istanbul, also made the trip to Paris this time.

“Finally the market in France is more buoyant than it has been for some years, so there are more people getting involved in pest control. In fact the representatives on the 3D stand (that’s the French trade association) told me that they had received around 60 applications from new pest controllers at the show,” he concluded.

Grumbles and groans
Surprisingly, one of the biggest grumbles was to do with the catering. It wasn’t that the quality of the food was poor, far from it, it was all down to the length of the queue to get it, especially on the first day. Indeed the queue was so long that on day 1 we had to skip lunch altogether!

Parasitec event center
Of course as this is France, food and drink play an important part on most of the local company stands with croissant and pastries first thing, soon being replaced by savoury nibbles and wine. The hospitality goes on right through until closing time which, at 18.30, makes for a very long day, especially for the international exhibitors who traditionally don’t offer the same sort of hospitality!

Most of the international exhibitors would be much happier if the event closed at say 17.00 or, alternatively, if it opened later than the 9.00 start time. After all, these events are not just about meeting visitors. Many companies also want to have time to meet with other companies/exhibitors and with such long opening hours that becomes very difficult to accommodate. If you do manage to find time for a business meeting the next problem is the lack of anywhere to sit. For anyone who has been to PestEx, the London ExCel venue is excellent with plenty of seating and places to grab a coffee, or a snack, just outside the exhibition hall, the Paris Event Center has nothing remotely similar.

Excellent event
That said, Parasitec 2016 was an excellent event and with Paris now just a 2.5 hour train ride from London, it’s an event UK pest professionals should consider visiting. What’s more, as it has become more and more of an international gathering, you don’t have to worry too much about the language. If you can manage a few words of French that’s great, but, if not, you’ll be able to get by in English!

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