Cities from across Europe are targeting MAPIC 2008 to explain and develop the importance of the retail sector in their overall marketing strategies.

Jean-Luc Calonger, President of the Association for City Centre Management (AMCV - Belgium) said: ’The AMCV has been running the Belgian city stand at MAPIC for ten years now. Experience has shown that MAPIC offers an opportunity for city centre management units to meet key players in retail city planning. ’But more importantly, private and public partners from different cities come here to meet, share their experiences and compare their situations in a friendly, exclusive environment.

’This is the only time of the year when all political and economic decision-makers involved happen to be in one place together.’

Like AMCV, other major city management associations will be represented at MAPIC this year, including the Associazione Citta Gestione Centri (AGECC) from Italy and The Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) from the United Kingdom.

These special partners advise and encourage local communities to develop a comprehensive and coherent strategy for their retail projects, accelerate their economic development and ensure their attractiveness.

The UK is a major player this year with Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham and Bristol sharing the same stand, and representing six of the eight so-called ’core cities.’