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MIPIM 2009: Mammoth European event will see 30% drop in delegates this year

As Europe’s glitziest property-fest prepares to get under way next week, organisers say attendance levels will be a third lower than last year’s event.

The global economic downturn is expected to put off 9,000 people from attending next week’s MIPIM property fair in Cannes, France.

According to organisers Reed MIDEM, attendance figures for the event – which begins on Tuesday and lasts all week – are expected to fall from 29,000 in 2008 to approximately 20,000.

MIPIM is regarded as one of the two biggest real estate events on the European calendar, and the downbeat assessment of numbers puts a question mark over EXPO Real in Germany, which is the other mammoth annual European event.

The annual Cannes jamboree is based in and around the Boulevard de la Croisette and traditionally attracts everyone from junior local recruitment consultants to senior executives from the world’s biggest private equity firms, but this year many companies are expected to send skeleton contingents or nobody at all as market conditions continue to hamper travel and corporate entertainment budgets.

REED MIDEM said it expected senior company executives to remain in force at the event while more junior professionals would not make the trip.

In a statement, the organiser said this year’s attendance figure would be closer to levels achieved in 2006: “MIPIM was launched in the face of a recession, it's indicative of the cyclical nature of the markets that it celebrates its 20th anniversary in the face of economic hardship,” it said. The event has always been an indicator of global market trends and has developed over time to represent, reflect and evolve with the industry. MIPIM organisers believe the current state of the market will return the annual meeting to its deal-making roots.

“Hospitality budgets will inevitably be reigned in but the listings guide is shaping up to be as busy as ever, with a full programme of seminars and keynote speeches, in addition to receptions, dinners etc which make up the social, networking element of MIPIM.”

Reed MIDEM said that to date, 18,000 people had registered for the event with the remaining anticipated numbers expected to register during the event itself.