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Athens Selected to Host IAPCO 2026 in Collaboration with Local Industry Stakeholders

Athens was chosen by the International Association of Professional Conference Organizers (IAPCO) to hold its Annual Meeting and General Assembly in 2026. The announcement was made by IAPCO President Sarah Markey-Hamm during the 2024 annual meeting in Ljubljana.

The event has special significance for the growth of the meeting and events industry in Athens. When the event kicks off in February 2026, it is expected to bring more than 150 leading professionals to Athens who are among the most important players in the international conference market. The annual attendees regularly organize the largest and most important conferences in terms of duration and number of participants.

The successful bid was the result of a partnership between This is Athens and four Greek companies that are professional conference organizers and members of IAPCO: AFEA, Convin, ERA and Erasmus.

The bid file titled “The Odyssey Reinvented” impressed the IAPCO Board of Directors. The narrative explores how technology is transforming the way people meet and connect as the digital world becomes a virtual environment, as well as the enduring role of human wisdom and emotions that remain crucial to the meetings industry. 

As the conference theme, “The Odyssey Reinvented” will create opportunities to celebrate the human journey and all the aspects that made Odysseus a timeless symbol of our capacity to overcome adversity: resourcefulness and cleverness, patience and perseverance, leadership and decision-making. 

In his statement, the CEO of the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency of the City of Athens, Ioannis Georgizas, emphasized: "The successful bid for the IAPCO 2026 Annual Meeting showcases the values that are driving This is Athens: openness and strong partnerships. The position of Athens on the global conference map is strengthened through networking with important international bodies such as IAPCO, as well as cooperation with local companies to support these major events. The 2026 IAPCO Annual Conference in Athens will promote our city to a targeted audience that exerts a great influence worldwide in the promotion of conference destinations."

The This is Athens - Convention and Visitors Bureau of the City of Athens has the honorary title "Destination Partner" of IAPCO, designating a close partner of the association for the promotion, education, and development of the meeting and events industry worldwide.

The announcement by IAPCO coincides with another Greek success story in conference tourism: the election of Sissy Lignou, President of the Hellenic Association of Professional Conference Organizers (HAPCO & DES), as the President of IAPCO beginning in 2025.

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