This year’s International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) annual congress in Puerto Rico is expecting to bring in more than 700 meeting planners, with early registration up more than 20 per cent.
According to current ICCA figures, Puerto Rico’s registrations are up 22 per cent over last year’s early figures, but the association isn't expecting to pass the record 1,000 delegate mark it reached in Leipzig, Germany, in 2011.
ICCA chief executive Martin Sirk said: “We added in an extra 'Early Bird' deadline that significantly built our early registration numbers, but we definitely won’t reach the record levels of Leipzig, when we attracted over 1,000 for the first time ever. The record of 814 attendees (in Thailand in 2007) for a congress held outside Europe, where 60 per cent of ICCA members are based, is however still a distinct possibility. There is still eight weeks to go, and bookings are still coming in at a healthy rate from all regions of the world.”
The 2012 congress kicks off on 20 October at the Puerto Rico Convention Center Pedro Rosselló in San Juan – marking the first time the four-day event will take place in the Caribbean.
Neil Mullanaphy, acting president and chief executive of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, said: “Bringing these influential ‘meeting makers’ to Puerto Rico provides us with the opportunity to showcase all the destination has to offer convention groups. Drawing delegates from Europe and North and South America demonstrates Puerto Rico’s strength as a natural gathering choice for international congresses. Our goal is once ICCA attendees experience all that Puerto Rico has to offer, they’ll bring their large groups back to Puerto Rico for association gatherings.”
During the congress, members of ICCA will meet for lectures, seminars and panel discussions on topics such as developing meetings in the Caribbean and Central America; the future of association, medical and technology meetings; sustainability; understanding the Brazilian market, and social media.
The event will also showcase meeting and event venues in Puerto Rico with a welcome event at the Conservatorio de Música in of Old San Juan, an evening “beach party” at El Escambrón Beach Club and a final gala taking place in the Puerto Rico Convention Center Pedro Rosselló’s Grand Ballroom. Pre- and post-tour packages are available to delegates and include discounts on accommodation across the island.
PIC: Neil Mullanaphy