Birmingham last night launched its first push to build a team to attend property trade fair MIPIM 2008, in Cannes.

Attracting more than 26,000 visitors and 2,000 exhibitors from more than 70 countries, MIPIM is widely regarded as the premier international trade event for anybody involved in the global property, development and investment markets.

This year, for the first time, an entire stand is to be dedicated purely to Birmingham.

Council leader Mike Whitby last night hosted a VIP reception at the newly refurbished Birmingham Town Hall to highlight the event.

Coun Whitby said: "Birmingham is a dynamic, prosperous city with a growing international status and reputation for delivering world-class regeneration and development schemes.

"Year on year our presence at MIPIM and international interest in what we have to say has been growing, to the point now whereby we are firmly established as one of the event's 'must-see' exhibitors. For any business interested in working with or investing in the city there is no better place to be."

Last year Birmingham hosted one of the events' most popular social activities, the 'Balti on the Beach'. Plans for another major networking event this year are currently being considered.

Two sponsorship packages are available for companies wishing to become part of the visit, costing £5,000 or £15,000.