ICANN 76 was held in Cancún, Mexico last week. While the event was not without its issues the attendance numbers were quite high with “on site” attendees outnumbering “remote” participants.
ICANN’s Interim CEO Sally Costerton published a brief blog post with some numbers:
- 1204 in person attendees
- 815 remote participants
ICANN had originally planned to hold a meeting in Cancún back in March 2020, but pulled the plug on the event due to concerns related to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Last week’s meeting was the first “in person” full ICANN meeting I’d attended since the end of 2019. As readers of this blog may know I refused to agree to ICANN’s waiver so I could not attend the meetings in The Hague or Kuala Lumpar in person. I opted to spend the week in The Hague and met with people “off site” and also got to do the networking side of the event, just not the official parts.
So how was the Cancún meeting?
The main issues with using Cancùn for a meeting were, mostly, external to ICANN.
The venue was spacious and quite well laid out. ICANN’s team had setup a good wifi network and the rooms were all kitted out as you’d expect with the AV gear. From what I saw the event was well attended.
So what were the issues?
Many of the attendees discovered that the hotels were very loud, with music blaring into the early hours. Cancún is a popular destination for “spring break” and many of the hotels cater for that demographic. This was further underlined by many hotels not allowing non-guests access any of their facilities, which made networking awkward. At most big events there are usually one or two main locales where people tend to congregate outside meetings. There wasn’t any of that in Cancún as each hotel was restricted mostly to its own guests. Most restaurants also assume that their guests want to be “entertained” constantly, so have quite loud music and often live “shows” in the evening, which made talking over dinner a bit of a challenge. While the actual meeting itself seems to have run well and the timetable was something akin to pre-Covid meetings I wouldn’t be in rush to go back to that location!
The next two locations are much more “normal”, so attendees will be back to wearing full length trousers I suspect.