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Greek Congress Organizers Up in Arms Over ‘Unclear’ Ministry Regulation

A recent health ministry regulation covering the approval procedure for the organization of medical and scientific conferences and medical training is expected to impact 50 associated professions, said the Hellenic Association of Professional Congress Organizers (HAPCO) this week.

More specifically, HAPCO said in a statement that the new ministry regulation is “unclear”, deviating from the required parliamentary approval – as previously agreed – and hindering the smooth organization of conference and congress events.

The trade body notes that the conference traveler spends on average seven times more that the regular visitor (leisure tourist).

“At a time when we should be taking 100 percent advantage of Greece’s favorable position on the international conference map, obstacles are being erected which are crushing and cancelling all efforts made by the sector for the development of this field of activity,” said HAPCO.

HAPCO goes on to note that despite reassurances that decisions and rulings would be made based on dialogue between affected parties, “we were informed suddenly of the new ministerial decision, which is unclear, provides incomplete information, has many gaps, and includes directives that can be implemented with great difficultly by the scientific community”.

At the same time, HAPCO said, it considerably limits organizers’ activity, “seriously impacting our profession, particularly at a time when Greece is gaining ground on the international congress map”.

This is not the first time that Greek PCO’s are seeing restrictions for the organization of medical conferences. Last year, during its 8th Panhellenic Conference in Athens, HAPCO dedicated a whole session on the matter.

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