The specter of Hurricane Michelle, forecast to hit the Yucatan Peninsula on November 4, the opening day of the International Congress and Convention Association general assembly in Cancun, Mexico, barely fazed conference attendees who had weathered a much tougher storm since September 11. Initially projected by the Cancun Convention Bureau to attract 550 registrants, the 5th ICCA Congress & Exhibition, incorporating the 40th ICCA General Assembly, finished up with 387 attendees at the Meliá Cancun.

Ranging from quotes of “25 percent occupancy in some of London's finest hotels,” to reports of South Africa being “the flavor of the month — it's actually now considered to be safe,” the ICCA attendees got a picture of how the U.S. tragedy had affected convention centers, hotels, and destinations worldwide.

The head of operational planning and monitoring of the South African Police Service, Pretoria, who had overseen law enforcement during that country's most violent days, reiterated that it is the city's, the facility's, and the organizers' responsibility to keep people safe at events.

Elizabeth Rich, manager, Business Events Council of Australia, also recommended that ICCA approach the United Nations, which is celebrating “The UN Year of Dialogue among Civilizations,” to support a campaign of face-to-face meetings,” she said.