GMA 23

Greek Meetings Alliance Inks Strategic Partnership with IFES

The members of the Greek Meetings Alliance (GMA) announced the creation of a new strategic partnership with the International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services (IFES) that will bring new business connections, major events, and more training opportunities to Greece.

The partnership between GMA and IFES was announced on 10 November at the Open Stage of Philoxenia 2023 during a panel on the benefits of fostering partnerships in the MICE industry that is focused on meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions. 

The panel featured the Executive Director of IFES, Uta Goretzky, alongside representatives from major stakeholders of the Greek MICE industry: Kyriakos Pozrikidis (Managing Director of TIF-Helexpo), Prodromos Monastiridis (President of the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau) and Sissi Lygnou (President of HAPCO & DES). The event was moderated by Tina Toribaba of the This is Athens-Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The agreement calls for IFES and GMA to co-host a major annual event, the IFES Masterclasses Europe, in Athens during Autumn 2024. The event will promote synergies within the MICE industry and give international players an opportunity to connect with leading Greek industries such as the film and television sector that has experienced tremendous growth in capacity and demand during recent years.

The organizations also agreed to share a platform at other leading events such as the IFES World Summit 2024 and the GMA Annual Meetings, and they will co-organize educational workshops at global events such as IMEX Frankfurt 2024. 

The partnership will enrich educational content, skills training, and professionalization for the meetings and events industry in Greece and abroad. They will collaborate to produce new knowledge for the industry through research projects, the exchange of white papers, and other related initiatives.  

The International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services is a network of national associations and individual companies active in the design, conception, production, and services for temporary structures used at exhibitions and trade shows. It is the only organization dedicated to the specific needs of exhibit designers and providers of tradeshow services.

The Greek Meetings Alliance is a national coalition of MICE industry professionals that is developing a unified strategy and international platform for the Greek meetings and events industry. The Greek Meetings Alliance was formed by three leading stakeholders from Greece: The City of Athens & This is Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Hellenic Association of Professional Conference Organizers (HAPCO & DES) and the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau.  

The organizations decided to join forces to develop strategic actions around the promotion and development of the national MICE Industry, sending a resounding message about the power of collaboration as well as also the potential of Greece to be a leading conference destination.

The GMA has opened new networking opportunities for the Greek MICE industry and serves as a catalyst for the international prestige of local brands. Recently, the GMA signed the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge that establishes their commitment to support the goal of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 and to actively promote and advocate for the adaptation of the industry locally and internationally.

The Executive Director of the International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services, Uta Goretsky, remarked during the panel: “IFES as well as me, we are very happy to sign this MOU with GMA. Together we will raise awareness of the exhibition and events industry through an additional, powerful voice! We believe in the strength of collaboration and sharing knowledge and are looking forward to what this partnership will bring and how it will help us to create a bigger impact. From advancing sustainability and attracting our next-generation workforce to making pan-European commerce and travel more seamless, the challenges facing the business events industry are global in nature and will require global solutions.”

Speaking on behalf of the Hellenic Association of Professional Congress Organizers & Destination Event Specialists (HAPCO & DES), Sissi Lygnou added: “We are proud to participate as HAPCO & DES, and as an active member of the Greek Meetings Alliance, in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with IFES. This strategic partnership represents a significant step forward for the MICE industry as a whole and highlights one of the core goals of our synergy: building international connections. IFES is internationally recognized for its dedication to excellence, innovation and sustainability in the support of events, conferences, and especially exhibitions. Their expertise and commitment to industry best practices make them an ideal partner as we work towards a shared vision that promotes and elevates the MICE industry worldwide. We look forward to the multiple opportunities this partnership will bring, including the ability to create a single voice for our industry, promote sustainability, enhance education, and share best practices that benefit all our members and partners.”

On behalf of the This is Athens-Convention and Visitors Bureau, the CEO of the City of Athens Development and Destination Management Agency, Epameinondas Mousios remarked, “The on-going success and growth of the Greek meetings and events industry relies on collaboration between like-minded organizations and different stakeholders more than ever before. As one of the founding members of the Greek Meetings Alliance, the City of Athens is helping to set the agenda for an industry that has experienced tremendous growth, achieved a very high level of international visibility, and is building the capacity to lead the tourism industry toward sustainability, accessibility, and inclusivity. We are tremendously proud of this success and we are excited to be taking the next steps.”

The President of the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau, Prodromos Monastiridis, added: “The signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding between the Greek Meetings Alliance and an internationally recognized organization in Thessaloniki - a city that is home to the largest exhibition centre in the country - is also of great importance for the partnership between the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau, This is Athens-Conventions & Visitors Bureau, and HAPCO & DES. The expansion of our cooperation demonstrates the strong dynamics within the sector, creates a broader scope for joint actions, and enables us to closely monitor the international practices and contemporary trends that characterize the meetings Industry today. With this initiative, we see positive development opportunities for the members of the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau and for Thessaloniki as a destination.”

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