ABPCO offers alternative to European conference body

The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) has rejected the proposal for a European federation of PCOs (CIT, February 2004) and has submitted its own plan for a business tourism body with a wider remit. Following discussions by members at its annual Think Tank event held in Cardiff last month, ABPCO has formulated an alternative proposal for a European version of the UK’s Business Tourism Partnership (BTP). At the time of going to press, ABPCO had not heard from the other countries that are involved in the planned European Federation of Associations of Professional Congress Organisers (EFAPCO). "The meeting agreed there should be a body to approach European issues at a political and educational level, but the presentation from EFAPCO was very ambitious and ABPCO members felt a more structured approach would pay dividends in the long term," said chairman Peter Mainprice. "We are impressed by the BTP formula and feel a European version is the way to go." ABPCO members had already stalled the planned launch of EFAPCO at Confex when they called for greater clarity on how the body would add to the service offered by organisations such as ICCA, IAPCO and MPI. It is not clear if Spanish, Belgian, Portuguese and Greek associations will go ahead with their plans to launch the association at IMEX in May. ABPCO’s proposal is for a European equivalent of the BTP that would provide an umbrella for trade associations and government agencies to explore common issues and lobby government. The organisation could encompass conference and exhibition trade bodies as well as those of incentive travel and outdoor events. "Business tourism is now high up the political and regional economic agenda in this country and members would like to see a European equivalent," said ABPCO executive director Tony Rogers.

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