EUROPE - The European Federation of the Association of Professional Congress Organisers, (EFAPCO), delivered a ‘Green Congress in a Green Venue’ for 190 delegates who gathered for the Federation’s 5th Congress at the Estoril Congress Centre, 12-14 January.
Hotel-to-centre transfers were kept to a minimum in the walkable resort on Portugal’s Atlantic coast.
One of the highlight sessions offered a sustainable vision of the industry’s future from Pedro Rocha dos Santos, Director of the ECC.
A co-located IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum attracted 40 of the brightest students in the international meetings industry from across Spain and Portugal.
The Congress theme was ‘The World Has Changed: Start Acting’ and Jose Manuel Bastos, Head of Unit Conference Organisation at the European Commission (pictured), offered a presentation with ‘inside track’ guidance as to how meeting planners could become involved in the organisation of EU business events. One of EFAPCO’s declared missions is lobbying the EU for greater political, financial and cultural recognition of the professionalism offered by the PCOs and other suppliers who belong to the Federation’s 13 member associations.
A ladies-day format featured contributions from Anne De Smet, Managing Director of Momentum and President of BAPCO, Belgium’s EFAPCO member association, who claimed women were now leading the industry’s future.
And fellow Belgian, Isabella Lenarduzzi, MD of JUMP, in delivering a sesson, ‘Empowering Women, Advancing the Economy’, reckoned that gender equality within the EU would deliver a 27 per cent increase in GDP. “Women’s energy and talent are the most untapped renewable source of global energy,” she claimed.
Independent Financial Consultant Mariana Abrantes de Sousa spoke enthusiastically about the enduring value of face-to-face events in the era of Facebook.
Industry futurist Rohit Talwar brought his animated predictions about the shape of corporate and association meetings over the next decade, and beyond.
Other sessions looked at how the positioning of destinations depended on development of their air links and how using scientific techniques could impact on attendee behaviour and performance at meetings.
“The buzz generated by every aspect of the Congress programme gave delegates renewed confidence in the value of EFAPCO membership – and for persuading PCOs in other European countries to form their own associations and join us,” EFAPCO President Nicolas Le Brun.
EFAPCO is a non-profit institution headquartered in Brussels. The Federation represents 1,450 companies active in the meetings industry across 13 member countries.
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