Global Event Partners, a network of 59 destination management companies from around the world, held its annual executive summit in Madrid, Spain, in July. The networking and educational conference drew 175 planners and suppliers.

This year 50 percent of the clientele originated from European countries. “There was a lot of enthusiasm for increased business but a caution because of the new ways of doing business. The advent of procurement managers, and outside communication companies and other third parties, have resulted in significant changes in the way business is being conducted within our industry today,” said Chris White, chairman and CEO of GEP.

The 2004 GEP Executive Summit was hosted by CREATUR, GEP's partner in Spain. Afternoon activities included tours of the world famous-Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Reina Sofia Museums. The Hotel Ritz Madrid, an Orient-Express Hotel, and the Westin Palace (host hotel of the summit) held spectacular evening events featuring live jazz, as well as a flamenco show.

With the success of this year's international event, GEP plans to hold the summit in Europe every other year.