by Lisa Grimaldi | October 01, 2004

This past May, the European Union welcomed 10 new member countries to its ranks, the biggest expansion in the organization’s 37 years of existence. Eight of these newcomers the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia were formerly part of the Soviet bloc; the other two, Cyprus and Malta, are island nations on opposite ends of the Mediterranean.
    Following is a primer of each country’s main meetings facilities, along with contact information for agencies that can provide more information for planners.

Flag of CyprusCyprus
Divided between Greece and Turkey since 1947,  Cyprus has undergone changes in the past few years. For one, some cities and towns that had been renamed during Great Britain’s rule have reverted to their original names. Accordingly, Nicosia is now Lefkosia, and the popular resort city of Limassol is now Lemesos. In addition, as of 2004, visitors to the Greek part of the country, where Lefkosia and Lemesos are, may now travel to the Turkish side and stay overnight.
    Capital: Lefkosia (formerly Nicosia)
    Major meeting/convention facility: The International Conference Center in Lefkosia; exhibit space, 11,880 square feet; meeting rooms, four; (011) 357-22-313-444; fax: (011) 357-22-312-333;
    Contact: Cyprus Tourism Organization, New York City, (212) 683-5280; fax: (212) 683-5282;

Flag of the Czech RepublicCzech Republic
This Eastern European nation has a good infrastructure for meetings and incentives, a beautiful capital city and has served as host to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.
    Capital: Prague
    Major meeting/convention facilities: Prague Exhibition Grounds; exhibit space, 216,000 square feet, leased by trade show organizer Incheba; (011) 420-220-103-623;
    Prague Congress Center; exhibit space, 140,500 square feet; meeting rooms, 38 (the largest accommodates 2,766); (011) 420-261-172-222; fax: (011) 420-261-222-012;
    Contact: Prague Convention Bureau, Prague, (011) 420-224-235-159; fax: (011) 420-224-234-399;
Czech Tourist Authority, New York City, (212) 288-0830; fax: (212) 288-0971;