A congress is an non-business-oriented meeting of generally fixed frequency having an extraordinary nature, in which participants belonging to different places meet at a predetermined site and time, to attend an organised meeting in which the delegates have a multi-interactive, debating and competitive role, often aided by specialised services.
· Participants change from their usual activity and usual environment (except local participants) to come to a multilateral gathering organised around a previously established advertised theme.
· Several organisations or a single professional association can be represented.
· Contributions to the presentation and discussion of the subject matter are decided by the sponsor and organising body.
· Frequency is usually established in advance and can be either multi-annual or annual.
· Conferences other than public lectures and governmental conferences can be considered as congresses. Conferences tend to be smaller in scale and more select in character and have no special connotation as to frequency. The increasing equivalence between congresses and private conferences, however, means that the two categories must be simplified into a single category.
Thus defined, the term "congress" may be used to describe all C&Cs. However, within this category, several sub-categories may be distinguished.
Eurostat, "Methodological manual for statistics on congresses and conferences", Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2000