The 33rd annual meeting of the European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA) was held in Budapest on 2–5 February – the second time the event has taken place in the Hungarian capital. Jointly hosted by the Sofitel and Intercontinental hotels, the congress was regarded by EHMA members as a very successful and memorable event.
The welcome reception on the first evening was held at the Hungarian Parliament, followed by a gala dinner at the Museum of Ethnography. In attendance were the entire EHMA Management Council, including the president, Jean-Henri Antoine (France), first vice president Johanna Fragano (Italy), and vice president Chris Tzianos (Greece and Cyprus).
The agenda on 2 February (University Day) began with a press conference, followed by a seminar led by Michael Nowlis on the subject of innovative management techniques and the creative concepts that are revolutionising the organisation of the food and beverage sector in the hotel industry.
Leadership was the theme for events on 3 February. The Mayor of Budapest, Dr Gábor Demszky, officially welcomed the participants, after which Dr Ákos Niklai, president of the board of the Hungarian National Tourist Office, showed clips of Hungary’s main tourist attractions. Later in the day, presentations were given by the keynote speaker Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guides, after which Tasos Ioannidis introduced a food and beverage project called the NOBU experience. Chris Norton spoke about education matters, while Martin Hawthornthwaite gave an insight into current design trends in Europe’s upscale hotels.
A panel discussion covering the impact of technology in the hospitality industry sparked a heated discussion among delegates. Chaired by Peter Bierwirth, the panel included: David Baudrez, Cisco Systems; Gabriele Schulze, Best Western; Tankut Turhan, Novotek; Hilary Murphy, École Hôtelière de Lausanne; Graeme Powell, Ibahn; and Gerald Lampaert, Luxury Communications.
In the evening, participants enjoyed an equestrian show, folk music and dinner at the Lázár Equestrian Park, Domonyvölgye. The Saturday was dedicated to the official general meeting, with EMHA’s General Assembly taking place in the ballroom of the Sofitel. In the evening, an organ concert was given in the Saint Stephen’s Basilica, and the meeting was concluded with the gala dinner in the ballroom of the InterContinental, during which Emanuel Berger, managing director of the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa in Interlaken, Switzerland, received the 2005 Hotel Manager of the Year Award.
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In 2007, the EHMA general meeting will be held at the Arabella Sheraton in Munich, Germany.