This year was the 12th visit of the Pickard team to the MIPIM exhibition in Cannes on the Cote d'Azur of France which is definitely the most significant property exhibition in Europe. During our visits over this number of years one tends to be able to judge the general tone of the exhibition each year virtually within the first couple of hours and this year was the same.
Back in 2008 there was an absolute 'buzz' from the moment you walked in, one year later and there was a 'heavy black cloud' hanging over the show with melancholy everywhere.
So how was it in 2016? With oil going up and down, the stock market jumpy there was a cautious optimism in the property market as it was offering the best returns on investments.
However just like last year the there were large gaps on the sea side promenade of the exhibition as the huge exhibition tents promoting regions of Russia were missing.
For Ukraine last year the Kyiv administration had a stand which was attended by Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko but not this year; this year it was Lviv administration and their Mayor Andriy Sadoviy that was promoting Ukraine. On the afternoon of the first day of the exhibition they held a type of press conference where their Mayor extolled the virtues and advantages of investing in Lviv compared to other more troubled areas of the country. Then the city's Chief Investment Officer Olha Syvak made a speech in very fluent English underlining how helpful the city's administration are in making investors welcome and making sure that all necessary procedures are streamlined to make investing in Lviv as easy as possible.
They presented projects like CTPark Lviv (A-Class manufacturing & logistics facilities), Technopark (A-class office center), Congress and Expo Center (Mixed-use center for conferences and exhibitions), Creative Quarter (17 000 m for work, creativity, learning and entertainment), Innovation Park (Hi Tech office buildings, residential buildings, social infrastructure) and others. They presented also their local vehicles producer Electron who produce modern low flow trams, trolleybuses and city buses with capacity 100 trams per year and also their local residential developer RIEL who commissioned 26 projects since 2013.
It was mentioned that 2 mln tourists visited Lviv in 2015, there are 190 IT companies located in Lviv, 15 000 people working in IT sector and more than 4000 IT graduates annually. Lviv was definitely was promoted not just as tourist destination but as a place for ‘business tourism’.
This message was strengthened by such an investor representative, Mr Remon Vos of CTP, a Czech group that is the cornerstone investor in a new business park. There were some descriptive maps, photographs and charts on the walls of the stand, brochures plus a very handy flashcard to take away. Plus some very tasty Lviv chocolates.
I am sure that other Ukrainian cities such as Kyiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk have what to say about themselves but so far at MIPIM only Lviv did it.
The next day I returned to the stand to do a short interview with Olha, try some more of their delicious chocolates and inform her that Pickard was the first international real estate agency that had actually opened a regional office in Lviv and appointed a regional representative and that we had two significant clients that we were assisting in Lviv with property issues. Olha informed that although there was no 'rush' of new investors into the Lviv region there was a definite increase in those coming to the area and an increase in those seeking information about investing.
MIPIM is also a culinary event with so many stands from so many countries offering samples of their cuisine and even beers and wines and all for free. There were sausages and beers on the Munich and Frankfurt stands, Swedish meatballs and smorgåsbord on the Malmo and Copenhagen stand, Turkish Delights on the Istanbul stand, shushi on the Japan stand, jamon serrano and fine wines on the Spanish stand plus the delicious chocolates on the Lviv stand. All this makes MIPIM a very nice exhibition to visit every year and it's not bad for business either.