Leading members from the 14 national associations which make up the European Federation of the Associations of PCOs (EFAPCO) will gather in Prague, 19 January, for a General Assembly designed to approve a new programme for the organisation.
“We are looking forward to meeting some of the 1,450 PCO professionals active in the meetings industry, which make up the membership of our 14 national associations,” said Federation President Luisa Ahrens Teixeira.
EFAPCO has also invited leading PCOs from some of the European countries who, at present, do not have their own PCO associations, to come and learn about the association’s Europe-wide network.
“I’m convinced that EFAPCO can prove invaluable to all professionals working in the field of congress organisation, by constantly driving up the service standards we offer to clients and their delegates, and by promoting our needs and aspirations to EU governments and the European Commission,” said Ahrens Teixeira. “With this in mind we need to prove we are united and speak in one voice.”
The focus of this year’s General Assembly will be a series of workshops aimed at creating a dedicated European Observatory. The proposed structure will rest on three pillars: Economy, National Organisations and Education.
The Observatory’s architect Sam Van de Kerckhof, from the Belgian association BAPCO, said: “The three pillars relate to EFAPCO’s main objectives and fit easily within the remits of different directorates within the European Commission.
“We need to be in a position to react promptly as the ‘voice of the European meetings industry’ on the various challenges and developments our industry has to live with, forecasting risks and developing opportunities. Employment, innovation, creativity and competitiveness should all be part of our thought processes.”
Van de Kerchof said The Observatory should collect statistics from all member national associations, in order for EFAPCO to undertake macro-economic, political and financial analyses.
“We also need to evaluate how well we are preparing the next generation for our constantly-evolving profession. The education of future meetings professionals builds bridges towards employment,” said Van de Kerchof.
Ahrens Teixeira, MD of Portuguese PCO Mundiconvenius was recently elected as the Federation’s first woman President.
“Extending EFAPCO’s reach strengthens our voice, not just within the EU but also with organisations like JMIC and with sister associations in other parts of the world,” she said.
The Assembly is taking place at the Holiday Inn Prague Congress Centre Hotel and Lenka Zlebkova, MD of the Prague Convention Bureau said she was delighted to welcome EFAPCO to the Czech Republic for the first time.
“We have prepared a highly professional and interesting programme which I hope will prove to be a real eye-opener for all participants,” she said.
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