Please click here to download the First Announcement pdf version.
San Juan, with over 500 years of history, is a sophisticated hub for business and commerce. The postcard-like city of San Juan is home to more than one million citizens, where old-world charm and historic architecture blend with modern-day comforts and technology. Located just minutes from forts dating back to the 16th century are the world's most prestigious hotel chains and ultra-chic shopping centers. As the main point of entry for the Caribbean, San Juan is easily accessible with direct flights from major cities in the United States, Latin America and Europe. The capital city´s many historic buidings and hotels are ideally suited to accommodate events of all types and sizes while the nearby beaches, entertainment venues and miles of pristine natural beauty will provide your attendees with a variety of activities. In San Juan you´ll find a destination unparalleled to anywhere else in the Caribbean. San Juan, represented by the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, is a proud partner of the BestCities Global Alliance, the world´s first and only convention bureau alliance with eight partners on five continents. As a BestCities member, visitors are guanranteed a level of expertise unprecedented anywhere else in the Caribbean. Visit meetsanjuan.com for more information.
Dengue Fever - Message from ICCA CEO
You may have seen recent media reports about an outbreak of Dengue Fever on the island of Puerto Rico. We've been in regular contact with the Puerto Rico authorities to check on the situation, and have set up links for members to obtain full factual information. In summary, these are the key issues: Dengue outbreaks occur from time to time throughout this region of the world, but the health authorities in Puerto Rico have well practiced procedures for tackling the problem, and good public information is made available. The areas directly affected on this occasion are not close to where ICCA activities are taking place, but some members are taking pre- and post-congress trips to other areas of the island so should check the health authority information about where they will be travelling. Dengue is transmitted only by mosquito bite, so ICCA and our local hosts are making sure that adequate supplies of mosquito repellent will be available throughout the congress, and we will be reminding the delegates about the importance of applying this protection. Previous Dengue outbreaks have not affected travel to the island, and this recent outbreak should not impact this year's ICCA Congress in any way. The advance Congress organising team is already on site in San Juan, as am I, and I can report that normal conference and tourism activity is entirely unaffected.
The Puerto Rico Local Host Committee has created the website: http://www.meetpuertorico.com/icca2012/useful-information.html with the very latest factual information available to all delegates. Should you have a particular worry or question that cannot be answered by the online information, please let me know.
Looking forward to seeing you all in a few short days!
Points of Interest
Fort San Felipe del Morro
In 1539, Spain began building this fort on the headlands at the eastern edge of the entrance to San Juan Bay. Rising 42.672 meters (140 feet) above sea level, its 6-meters-thick (20 feet) walls proved a formidable defense against Spain's European enemies. The fort is a maze.
La Fortaleza was built in 1533 as the first fortification for the defense of the colony and the harbor entrance. Colonial governors of the 16th century began using La Fortaleza as their place of residence and headquarters. Today La Fortaleza serves as the governor's official residence and administrative headquarter.
Shopping, Dining and Entertainment
From local crafts to international designer luggage, San Juan offers a multitude of shops and factory outlets. Calle del Cristo is the main shopping area in Old San Juan where visitors will find discounted high quality gold and jewelry, as well as major outlets such as Ralph Lauren, Dooney & Bourke, Guess and Coach, among others. San Juan is also home to Plaza Las Américas, the Caribbean's largest and most complete shopping center with over 300 stores including the Caribbean's only Macy's, the world's largest JCPenney and Sears. Traditional and popular crafts steeped in San Juan's history include santos (small, wooden figures of saints and religious scenes), mundillo (intricate, handmade bobbinlace) and vejigantes (Island masks made of papier-mâché or coconut). Puerto Rico has long been considered the Culinary Capital of the Carribean, a world of gastronomic possibilities is here to explore. Our visitors can feast on Puerto Rican specialties - a mix of Spanish, Creole and Inidian flavors. In addition, the classic cuisines of Spain, France, Italy, Japan, India, China, Mexico and Argentina are all represented and first-rate dining options for every budget are readily available to satisfy any appetite. Our Island offers vivitors a wide variety of nighttime and cultural acitivies including international casinos and nightclubs typically located in major hotels, theater, dance, opera and outdoor concerts.
Geography and climate
The average year-round temperature is a balmy 82º F (28º C), with mild easterly trade winds. Most days are sunny and beautiful, although there tends to be a bit more rain between August and October.
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) (EST +1; GMT -4) all year around.
U.S. dollar is the local currency and ATMs are generally easy to find. Most businesses accept major credit cards, as well as traveler’s checks.
Electricity in Puerto Rico is 110 or 120 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. If you travel to Puerto Rico with a device that does not accept 110 Volts at 60 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. Generally, most hotels can provide adapters.
As in the U.S. mainland, a 15% to 20% tip is customary. Some hotels and restaurants add a 10% to 17% service charge to the total bill.
Passport and Visa Information
In order to ensure timely delivery of the requested visa, delegates who require an invitation letter for visa purposes are strongly recommended to register early. Please click here for additional information on visas and the Visa Waiver Programme.