Report: Leisure Summit, a first for MAPIC 2018 - MAPIC News

Leisure Summit: A first for MAPIC 2018


MAPIC officially starts tomorrow, but the dynamic discussion around the future of retail got off to a flying start this afternoon. With the warm November sun shining through the iconic glass panels of the Grand Auditorium at the Palais de Festivals, Cannes, we welcomed 225 visitors to our first ever Leisure Summit – a sold-out event dedicated to leisure in real estate.


Experts in the field of entertainment lined up and shared their insights and experiences of a rapidly evolving industry, where the power to create connections in new and exciting ways is ever-more important. Here is what they had to say:


Session: ‘When shopping and entertainment meet the ultimate urban destination’

Benoit Chang, CEO, EuropaCity was first to take the stage. As the mastermind behind one of the world’s largest and boldest multi-experience destinations currently under-development, he had much to share about the key ingredients to creating a successful leisure mix; from the footfall- driving potential of ‘sportainment’, to the continual incorporation of the latest technologies to stay ahead of the curve. According to Chang, ensuring destinations keep up with the latest tech innovations means “leaving things sufficiently open to incorporate the right technology at the right time”.

Chang also drew our attention to the importance of architecture in creating great leisure destinations – alluding to the importance of pulling together expertise from across sectors – retail, real estate and entertainment – to build one-of-a-kind places that truly resonate with customers.

“If we want to create a place that is bound to link people…we strive to make iconic buildings for visitors” – Benoit Chang, EuropaCity


Session: The Entertainment Industry Today

For our first panel, we were joined by entertainment experts including Clifford Warner, Chairman, MYCOTOO, whose career has involved producing award-winning experiences for Universal Studios and Disney Land parks. Warner pointed out significant shifts in leisure destination development, which have impacted the way experiences are created from the early design stage.

“We are seeing a shift where spaces are designed for the parents and the activities are designed for the kids” – Clifford Warner, MYCOTOO


In a similar vein, Jean-René Acouturier of Lagardère Active provided insight into creating perfect experiences for children; activities and attractions that will keep them interested and coming back for more. Acouturier referenced the unique appeal of Lagardère’s Gulli theme parks: “We adopt a daily and local way of entertaining kids…we try to bring them the brands, the characters and the toys that they expect”.

Ensuring your experience is relevant is a valuable piece of advice – particularly, as pointed out by Acouturier, if you are able to balance expansion and the proximity of your destinations to your target audience, with a personalised approach.


We also heard words of wisdom from panellist, Elisha Karmitz, Co-owner, MK2 VR. When discussing his company’s ‘VR Pods’ – a maintenance system and content platform that allows anyone who wants to deliver a VR experience to customers, to do so easily – Karmitz beseeched the eager audience to be bold, be brave, understand your customers and always look to out-do the competition.


“Take risks, try stuff – something you have never done before – see how your audience responds…and work more than your competitors” – Elisha Karmitz, Co-owner, MK2 VR.

Session: ‘How to choose the best entertainment solutions for your shopping malls

‘Connection’ was a keyword throughout our third panel, which welcomed experts including Gaston Gaitan, Managing Director, The Leisure Way, to talk through the process of incorporating leisure into shopping destinations. Gaitan noted that the core of a good leisure strategy is changing the perception of a destination from visitation to ownership and, above all, creating memorable stories that visitors can take with them.

“You must change the perception (of a destination) from visitation to ownership…making sure the stories created travel from the asset to the home” – Gaston Gaitan, Managing Director, The Leisure Way


Master of Ceremony, Gilles Devendeville, Real Retailtainment stepped in with a note encapsulating the purpose of the summit, and pulling into focus the bright future of shopping centres if retailers, landlords, developers and entertainment providers strive to build bridges and collaborate.

“We have to understand each other and take the next step together…if you believe in your concept, there will be a way to make it happen with a joint venture” – Gilles Devendeville, Real Retailtainment

MAPIC’s Leisure Summit has been a long time coming – and in its first year, has proven that leisure and entertainment will play a key role in shaping future of retail and commercial real estate. More than that, however, we witnessed the incredible enthusiasm of the industry to learn, share and embrace new ideas around experience – and, for this, we extend our thank you to all of our fantastic speakers.

Now for the main event Stay tuned!

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Pascal Iakovou

Pascal Iakovou is Social Media Manager for Reed MIDEM's MIPIM & MAPIC brand real estate events.

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