On Wednesday 24 March, on the recommendation of Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, and Frédéric Hocquard, her deputy responsible for tourism, the Board of Directors of the OTCP (Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau) elected a humanist traveller who is in love with Paris.
This election will see Jean-François Rial take over from Pierre Schapira, who is coming to the end of his second term (which began on 3 December 2014). He is keen to continue to lend his support to tourism operators in his capacity as a bureau adviser. As Chairman, he assuredly succeeded in increasing the diversity of the capital's tourism offering over a larger area. The Board of Directors has in fact expanded the bureau, investing the association with an even more metropolitan and sustainable dimension.
The election of Jean-François Rial points to the general trends of a tourism that now (more than ever in these unprecedented times) needs to rethink itself completely. For this figurehead of the ecological transition, the challenge facing us is a priority. The tone has been set and the aim is clear – to align Paris with the values of its time: a committed city, one that is increasingly welcoming with its eye firmly focused on the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A city which honours all that is beautiful, which showcases creation and innovation serving leisure tourism and reinvented business tourism. A city which is human, sustainable and resilient. The new Chairman is keen to bring about profound and essential change. He will do this alongside Corinne Menegaux, the Bureau's Director-General who has already sown the seeds of this change, with help from stakeholders involved in Paris tourism.
"My agenda is both extremely straightforward and highly ambitious: bring the very best of travel and tourism to Paris. By avoiding "overtourism", by ensuring that each and every tourism site is eco-friendly, and by infusing it with beauty throughout – for the eyes of both its visitors and its residents" – Jean-François Rial, Chairman of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Born on 12 June 1963, Jean-François Rial studied statistics at the Institut Supérieur de l’Université Paris VI, while at the same time qualifying as an actuary.
A great lover of history and geography, at 25 years old he became Managing Director of FININFO, a company listed on the unlisted securities market of the Paris Stock Exchange. While at university and then when he first entered the world of finance, he first brushed shoulders with the people who he would ultimately come to trust the most as the years went by: Alain Capestan, Lionel Habasque, Frédéric Moulin and Loïc Minvielle, all of whom accepted his invitation to join him when he decided to take over Voyageurs du Monde in 1996. Jean-François Rial finally got to combine his two passions: geography and statistics!
Jean-François Rial, more than ever before a concerned and involved citizen, became Chairman of the Refettorio Paris charity, founded by chef Massimo Bottura and artist JR, committed to raising people's awareness of the need to tackle food wastage through social inclusion. He has continued to support this charity restaurant for immigrants and the homeless by joining forces with his son Tom to create an organic farm in the Perche region to the west of Paris. From the abstract world of finance to one that is more concrete, Jean-François Rial seeks to reconcile economic efficiency and ethics.
24 March 2021 – Elected Chairman of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.