If you’re a North America–based planner, you might think of the European Union (EU) as exactly that: a union that offers citizens and visitors — including international meeting attendees — a seamless, unfettered travel experience from one member country to the next. But as several European meeting professionals revealed during a roundtable discussion at PCMA’s Global Professionals Conference – Europe in Lisbon in August, it’s not that simple.
While people from the 26 EU countries that are party to the Schengen Agreement — signed in Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985 — are entitled to travel from country to country without a visa, people from the six non-Schengen EU countries might not be. Those countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the United Kingdom, according to the European Commission’s website.
What does that mean? Just this: If you’re assuming that attendees from a specific EU country can travel quickly and painlessly to any other EU country, that might not be the case. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to research in case you need to give them an advance heads-up.