Video Interview: Mr. Claudio Franchini, Director of Parma Incoming

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What is the mission of Parma Incoming and its way
of operating?

Our mission is to promote tourism in a broad sense in the area of Parma, focusing our attention both on leisure tourism and on conference tourism. The MICE industry represents a significant portion of our budget, in consideration of the important conference centers that were built in our city in the first 2000s. For this reason, Parma has become a very attractive conference destination, with a good position on the international market, too.

What are the main points of excellence and competitiveness of Parma Incoming and of the
whole conference sector?

Parma is located at the center of northern Italy, and road infrastructures make it very easily accessible. It is a relatively small city, where movements are simple and fast. With its excellent hotels and accommodations, Parma can host different types of conferences and a number of participants ranging from 50 to 3,500 people. Furthermore, it is a very attractive city for pre- and post-conference events, thanks to its many points of interest. In fact, Parma has become very well-known over the years for its high quality of life and its excellent food and wine tradition, two elements of great appeal in Italy and abroad.


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Could you give us an overview of the innovations
that could spark a growth trend?

Growth is essential, and it is possible to optimize connections with the high-speed rail line.
We need to keep believing in our airport and to improve transport connections to our conference facilities.

How is Parma Incoming working, what are your proposals to attract international customers and to compete successfully in foreign markets?

Ten years ago, Parma was little known abroad as a conference destination, for this reason, our main strategy was to attract international operators and make them see the excellence of our area.
We participated in the most important international trade shows and exhibitions held in major Italian cities like Rome, Milan, Florence and Turin, in order to promote our offer. We also realized a series of educational tours for operators, which produced very good results. Once our city gets to be known, it is very much appreciated.

Collaboration with the Emilia-Romagna region:
an extra value.

The coordination activity operated by the Emilia-Romagna region in the conference sector was very beneficial to a company like ours. It created a close collaboration between this sector’s operators, thus leading to a unity of purpose; a participatory and inclusive approach we truly appreciated. Today, as we all know, resources are limited, and the real challenge is to keep believing in conference tourism, which has a very high value per capita in this area, and therefore a great potential.


In which way this territory and its excellence in tourism could affect the post-conference program and/or the choice of the destination?

In Parma we have two functional and beautiful conference facilities, the Auditorium Niccolò Paganini and the Palacassa, but pre- and post- conference events are fundamental, especially in such a beautiful area: castles, villas, exclusive gala dinners and food and wine tours, with excellence products like Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano that are very famous and sought-after in Italy and abroad. In recent years, we have been developing opera events related to conferences, relying on the prestigious and attractive name of Giuseppe Verdi.

Could you mention a couple of successful case histories?

Looking back to some particularly successful case histories, I would like to remember the 800 people who came to attend an international Summit at the Auditorium Paganini. At first, this very important event seemed destined to take place in Florence, but it was held here in Parma thanks to the close cooperation between the trade show organization Fiere di Parma and our Municipality. Everything worked really well, a great example of what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together. Another significant national event was organized by an important bank at the Palacassa,
in a particular month like December. Parma hosted 3,500 people, meeting very well the different needs of operators, and benefited from the positive economic impact, showing its best face.

How do you imagine Parma Incoming in the future?

There is still space for improvement, but today I am very pleased with the work of Parma Incoming
and I would like it to continue this way, with the same quality and professionalism. We are a point of reference in the conference sector, our knowledge of the territory greatly increases the value of a conference held here. The direction taken is the right one, now we have to insist and consolidate these results.

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