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ICMA Conference 2009: Montréal: Cosmopolitan But Not Expensive
From ICMA

Tough times are not the best time to cut back on the high-quality professional development and networking you need to help your community deal with the current economic crisis. With nearly 100 concurrent educational sessions, field demos, Solutions Track sessions, Marketplace Roundtables, and other professional development opportunities, this year's ICMA Annual Conference, September 13-16 in Montréal, will provide you with ideas and strategies that you can put into action as soon as you return to your office.

If you're on the fence about attending because you're fearful of what an out-of-country conference will cost, don't be. Montréal is an extremely affordable city, and the U.S.-to-Canadian exchange rate makes it even more so! Here are a few suggestions for saving costs that we hope you find useful:
Registration fees: Held at 2008 prices, fees include a $35 welcoming reception ticket! For lowest rates (early-bird registration is $565 online/$590 paper for members and $1,000 online/$1,025 paper for nonmembers), register by July 6 and take advantage of the $25 discount for online registration. Plus, as in the past, ICMA will offer these special discounts and registration fees:
Complimentary registration for students, honorary members, and Range Riders.

Registration discounts for:
Members in the conference region (Canada and U.S. border states Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont) attending their first conference ($200 discount)
Members outside North America attending their first conference (50% discount)
Retired members ($150 fee)
Life members ($150 fee)
Full-time academics ($230 fee)
Nonmember managers attending their first conference and registering as a result of special promotions encouraging current members to promote the conference
Early-career professionals, defined as Affiliate members with three years or fewer as a member ($300 discount)
Exchange rate: Best it's been in months! As of early March, prices in U.S. dollars are 78 percent of what they are in Canadian dollars. That means for every dollar you spend in Montréal, you're really only spending 78 cents. A room in one of the conference co-headquarters hotels that lists for $184/night in Canadian dollars, for example, will actually cost you $142. Because of this favorable exchange rate, the Montreal conference could be more affordable for members than some ICMA conferences that have taken place in the United States. To track exchange rates, visit www.xe.com/ucc.

Hotels: You may want to consider sharing a hotel room to stretch your dollars. Using the example of a four-night stay in a room that lists for $184 CN/$142 U.S. (roughly $568 base), you could save $284 by sharing with another person. Use the conference discussion forum at http://forums.icma.org to connect with other attendees who are interested in sharing expenses.
Transportation: You may want to consider flying into Burlington, Vermont, renting a car with a group of people, and driving to Montréal to save costs. Or you may find that a direct flight from an alternative airport a few miles away from where you normally fly out of can save you a bundle. Use the online travel reservation sites (e.g., Orbitz, Travelocity) to test various scenarios and options.
Food: Free exhibit hall lunches will be available on Monday and Tuesday. A full spectrum of eating opportunities can be found in downtown Montréal, including "chic but cheap" options in Montréal's extensive Underground City.
The preliminary program/preregistration packet will be mailed in late May and again this year, the online housing bureau will open simultaneously with online conference registration on June 1, 2009. For more information on the 2009 ICMA Annual Conference, click here.
Arizona City/County Management Association
1820 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007   •   Phone: (602) 258-5786   •   Fax: (602) 253-3874   •   www.azmanagement.org