Definition: Spatial nature of the congress
Criterion 1: for Establishing the Spatial Nature of the Congress (based on UIA definitions).
Defining the spatial nature of a congress is one of the most relevant issues. A congress' importance may be considered, although not necessarily, depending on, for example, its internationality. The problem is twofold: defining which point of reference to use in order to consider internationality, and what criteria to adopt.
There are four possible points of reference:
· The organisation (e.g. international nature of the organisation)
· The participants (e.g. number of foreign delegates)
· Countries represented (e.g. by delegates and organisers)
· Destination (e.g. rotatory system)
The UIA combines the three criteria [UIA, 1991a]. By one criterion, congresses held by international associations are considered international, whether assemblies, symposia or conferences. By another, those national meetings which have at least 300 participants, of which at least 40% are foreign, from a minimum of 3 countries and with a minimum duration of 3 days. The AACVB defines, for its part, an international meeting as that in which there is participation from 2 or more continents, while a regional meeting is one in which there are delegates from 2 or more countries in the same continent [AACVB, 1992].
In order to include a substantial number of international congresses, relatively unrestrictive criteria would have to be established, adopting the following definition: a meeting may be considered international when at least 40% of its participants are from abroad, from at least 3 nationalities. A general definition could be:
Minimum participation from outside the locality, region or country in relationship to 40% of participants from at least 3 locations, regions or countries.
Criterion 2: geographic rotatory system (based on ICCA suggestion).
A congress is considered to be international when its scope of rotation encompasses more than two countries.
· European meetings.
· Europe-North America.
· French speaking countries.
The spatial nature of a congress also has to do with its "geographic rotation area"; in other words the destination in which the meeting could take place. There are meetings which can take place world-wide. Others are e.g. European meetings and only take place within Europe. Other examples:
Europe-North America; Asia/Pacific; French speaking countries, etc. Many meetings also do not travel and always take place in the same destination. This segmentation is only relevant for meetings which are organised on a regular basis.
Criterion 3: nature of the international meeting (based on Mr. Fighiera experience).
A congress is ¿international¿ if the congress itself is considered international or if the organisation is considered of this nature or if there is any other type of proof or evidence that demonstrates that indeed it is so (e.g. number of foreign participants).
The consideration of a congress as international is regardless to the number of foreign participants.
Eurostat, "Methodological manual for statistics on congresses and conferences", Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2000, p.55