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Business Tourism Congress Held in Athens

Last month, the Second General Assembly and Annual Congress of the European Federation of the Associations of PCOs was held at the Helexpo Congress and Exhibition Centre in Athens.

Special news during the event was that the European Federation of Associations of Professional Congress Organizers (EFAPCO) was invited to join the WTO’s Affiliate Members Council.

Federation President, Julio Abrue remarked this was wonderful news and that it will “give EFAPCO a voice, and influence, in the global travel and tourism industry’s most dynamic forum.” He added that this event gave greater energy and focus to the Athens meetings.

Zacharias Kaplanidis, the program committee chairman and secretary general of EFAPCO, said “the federation has made great strides during the past three years. We now have ten national associations as members and more than 60 associate members participating. The program developed is designed to address the challenges facing the meetings industry, both in Europe and around the world.”

The congress titled “The Evolution of Meetings and Business Tourism around the World” opened with the keynote address of the Council’s President, Professor Carlos Vogeler. The two-day program included 30 presenters from around Europe and 15 sessions on topics such as an updated code of ethics for PCOs, the future of air transportation, expanding relationships with hotel chains and congress centres, and the evolution of core PCOs.

Other discussion topics were the EU’s approach to business tourism, the future of e-learning and how e-technology can support the meetings industry.

A parallel event to the congress was the Explorama Show which gave businesses seeking solutions for their next exhibitions or company events an opportunity to meet with the companies offering services and products to the events market.

A wide range of international and European organizations participated including the European Parliament, UNWTO, ICCA and IAPCO, as well as specialist exhibitions like IMEX and EIBTM, and the private sector including hotels and airlines.

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