Egyptian organisers of this week’s problem-plagued International
Advertising Association World Congress have warned the British hosts of
the IAA’s showpiece millennium event not to rely on bumper
While the massacre of 64 tourists at Luxor six months ago helped reduce
the number of delegates at the Cairo event to less than three quarters
of the expected level, IAA officials claimed pressure on company budgets
has taken an equal toll. Loula Zaklana, congress chairman, said:
’Despite the number of international conferences, people are not
travelling as much as they used to.’
With Egypt’s President Mubarak playing host to the heads of state of the
G15 nations, the IAA was forced to abandon the first day’s entire
afternoon session because the Cairo International Convention Centre was
needed for their meeting.
The conference also forced the last-minute withdrawal of Mubarak, who
had been expected to give his speech in person but who had to send a
videotaped address instead.
The Egyptian government insisted that all 1,400 delegates have their
photographs taken as they registered.
Organisers also faced criticism over the calibre of the speakers. Martin
Sorrell, WPP’s chairman, was the only internationally ren-owned
executive to address the gathering. But Zaklana said: ’We went out of
our way to find the top speakers.’