This has been my first trip to MIPIM.
As a property lawyer I have obviously been aware of the show for many years, but had never taken the plunge.
I am here wearing two hats – as chairman of law firm Wright Hassall and also as the vice chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP – and that allows me to judge MIPIM with different perspectives.
My initial reaction, to be honest, was that with so many meetings taking place between companies, organisations and individuals from the UK, why was it necessary to come to France?
But within hours of arriving, the reason became clear. Frankly, all the major players in the varying strands of the property world are here and all here actively looking to do business.
I have spoken to several people – including those who are here from Wright Hassall – who have said that they have had meetings that they simply would not have managed to get in their diaries in the UK.
And, having seen the diaries of public and private sector people who are here, I can confirm that there are very few gaps in their itineraries.
From the CWLEP point of view we are at MIPIM to ensure that our area successfully competes for inward investment with other cities and areas from across the UK and beyond.
Coventry have done MIPIM very successfully for decades, and in recent years that has been in partnership with Warwickshire. To see the private sector, public sector officials and elected members at MIPIM with shared aims and determined to do the best for our region, is very powerful.
We have traditionally punched above our weight at MIPIM and it is clear to see that continues. The fact we are doing that as part of a wider region presence this year is also very positive.
The British Government also have a very sizeable presence and it is good to see that our Midlands pavilion has attracted a string of ministerial visits.
The size and scale of the event is enormous. Cities and regions from across the globe are here in massive numbers and the business starts early and finishes late. The time, effort and expense that clearly cities and companies take really is staggering.
There are certainly some law firms who have pushed the boat out – and I hope they can justify the investment!
I was told that a German mayor – when interviewed by the BBC recently – said that he would have some serious questions to answer if he did NOT attend MIPIM, and I think that sums up its importance to cities and regions.