More than 160 delegates from across Europe helped to deliver a pivotal two days in EFAPCO’s development. Malaga’s magnetism as a SMART meetings city was complemented by a full day of sessions exploring the myriad attractions of SMART conventioneering. It proved to be an impressive eco-friendly and high-tech setting according to the Federation’s President Luisa Ahrens Teixeira. “And our Congress programme featured a series of colourful presentations from leading Spanish innovators, including a lively introduction to the concept of a SMART city from the Mayor of Malaga Francisco de la Torre. It was encouraging to see so many Event Management students taking part in the Congress – after all they are our industry’s future,” she added.
Equally important to PCOs from EFAPCO’s member countries and beyond, was the second day’s examination of progress made on the Federation’s innovative three-pillared research programme focused on a wide spectrum of pan-European issues including: PCOs’ professional standards, research into the teaching of Event Management, the economic impact generated by PCO activity, the creation of PCO qualification systems, the work undertaken within all of EFAPCO’s member countries. Sam van de Kerckhof, co-ordinator for the three-pillared project said: “This Congress has taken place at a key time in the development of our Federation. Our role has been to unite national PCO associations in order to speak as a single authoritative voice in the interest of promoting and defending the various professions that operate in the meetings and events industry. “A year ago, in Prague, we worked on the structure of a European Observatory on the meetings industry working under the EFAPCO umbrella. Following the progress we have made since then, the research programme has become much more than a satellite project. It was devised to become THE engine of the Federation,” he added.
One of the core projects, presented at the Congress, involves a questionnaire seeking information from all EFAPCO members about their structure and conference and events activities. Based on a well-established model developed in Belgium by BAPCO, the results should be available for report-back during IMEX in Frankfurt. EFAPCO’s researchers have also launched a survey analysing the Event Management education courses currently available in universities, colleges and schools across Europe. Early results have proved encouraging in some countries but with gaps identified in others. Sam van de Kerckhof added: “We are developing a structured plan of action and a long-term vision to help the Federation speak with a powerful and unified European voice.”