Wikimania 2009/Bids/Buenos Aires
Wikimania 2009 official bids:
Buenos Aires -
Questions and Answers:
Brisbane | Buenos Aires | Karlsruhe | Toronto
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and its largest city. Strongly influenced by European culture, Buenos Aires is sometimes referred to as the "Paris of the South" or "Paris of South America". With about 12 million inhabitants, Buenos Aires constitutes the second largest Spanish-speaking metropolitan area in the world. It is also one of the most sophisticated cities in Latin America, renowned for its architecture, nightlife, and cultural activities.
Behind this bid is Wikimedia Argentina, the local chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation. Composed by a core of more than 30 very active members, our organization is product of regular wikimedian meetings that have been taking place in Buenos Aires since 2004, reinforced during the course of 2005 by the massification of Wikimedia projects. Wikimedia Argentina, despite recognized as a chapter a short time ago, has already considerable experience with massive conferences.
Local authorities have also a great commitment with the organization of Wikimanía in Buenos Aires. The Minister of Culture and President of the Tourism Authority of the Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Hernán Lombardi, has expresed this interest and commitment to Wikimedia Argentina. And also did La Plata National University, one of the most important argentinian universities, with over 75,000 regular students and 8,000 teaching staff. Another educational institutions have pledged their collaboration and interest, as several departments of the University of Buenos Aires.
- Country: Argentina
- City proposed: Buenos Aires
- Venue: Centro Cultural General San Martín (CCGSM)
- Proposed dates: August 28 - 30, 2009
- Contact persons: Patricio Lorente, Enrique Chaparro, Juan David Ruiz, Galileo Vidoni.
About Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires means fair winds in Spanish. It is one of the largest cities in Latin America, with a lot of cultural offerings, and is the point of departure for travelling to the rest of the country. Inhabitants of Buenos Aires are called porteños, "people from the port". Buenos Aires is a singular, open and integrating city that allows the visitor not only to view the city but also to live an exceptional urban adventure.
Argentines sometimes refer to the city as Capital Federal to differentiate the city from the province of the same name. In the 1994 constitution, the city was given autonomy, hence its formal name: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. The abbreviations Bs. As. and Baires are sometimes used. The city is sometimes called La Reina del Plata, that is, "The Queen of the Plata" (a reference to the Plata river basin). Buenos Aires is divided into 48 districts or barrios, with approximately three million people live in. Great Buenos Aires (Gran Buenos Aires) is one of the ten most populated urban centers in the world with over 14 million people. Most of the country's activity is highly concentrated in this single city and its surroundings.
Buenos Aires constantly receives tourists from all over the world and offers a large choice cultural events, nightlife, restaurants and pubs, so visitors can expect good services and a wide range of options. Buenos Aires has also one of the largest homosexual communities in Latin America and there is a liberal attitude towards gay society. Following the economic recovery, in recent years there has been an increase in gay-friendly businesses such as real estate, apartment rental, travel agents, language classes, tango classes, bars, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses. Year 2007 has seen arrivals of more gay cruise ships, the opening of a gay 5-star hotel and a general increase in gay tourism.
Public transportation in Buenos Aires is very good, although crowded during rush hour. The metro network is not very large, but reaches most tourist attractions of the city, and there is a large range of bus routes and several suburban railways used by commuters. Fans of walking in open green spaces and parks in big cities like Buenos Aires, be sure not to miss a promenade in Palermo, a beautiful area in the eastern part of the city. Buenos Aires is definitely a walking city, with many diverse areas and attractions all within close range of each other. Therefore an excellent way to explore the city is on foot.
- The venue will be provided for free to host Wikimania 2009
The Centro Cultural General San Martín (General San Martín Cultural Centre) is the most important cultural center of Argentina. Located in the heart of the city, near the renowned Corrientes Avenue (also known as The street that never sleeps), it is supported by the city government, and hosts diverse cultural and artistic events. The building, finished in 1970 by architect Mario Roberto Álvarez, was also used as seat of the first legislature of the city. At the eastern end of the building are the Plaza de las Américas and the Patio de Esculturas squares with two art galleries. The venue was refurbished during 2007, updating and upgrading its conference facilities.
The building is 12 stories tall and 30,000 m2 large, has different rooms for workshops and courses and is home to the Buenos Aires Audiovisual Nucleus with over 7,000 documentary works.
Centro Cultural General San Martín will provide one large hall with 750 seats, three medium size rooms with ~200 seats, two lounge facilities and two offices for the organization team.
|Main hall||Room A/B, with 750 seats||Dimensions (m): 42.00 x 21.00 x 7.00|
|Seminar rooms||Room C with 200 seats||Dimensions (m): 20.00 x 11.00 x 3.04|
|Room E with 190 seats||Dimensions (m): Hall: 3.87 x 8.20; Auditorium: 8.66 x 4.70; Room: 11.70 x 10.90|
|Room F with 190 seats||Dimensions (m): Hall: 3.87 x 8.20; Auditorium: 8.66 x 4.70; Room: 11.70 x 10.90|
|Enrique Muino Room with 254 seats|
|Ernesto Bianco Room with 70 seats|
|Lounge facilities||Mezzanine with 120 seats, total capacity of 340||Dimensions (m):10.70 x 13.73 x 3.10, 170 mt2 of free space|
|Lounge facilities||Madres de Plaza de Mayo Room with 120 seats, total capacity of 340||Dimensions (m):10.00 x 17.00 x 3.10, 170 mt2 of free space|
|Organization Team Offices||Room D with 2 offices||Dimensions (m):3.42 x 5.60 x 3.10 each office|
Internet access computers, video conferencing, web casting and audio and video recording will be organized by CafeLUG, the Capital Federal (Buenos Aires) Linux Users Group, organizers of CaFeConf, a national free software event held annually in Buenos Aires with a total attendance of nearly 1,500 people.
Regarding WiFi coverage, we are confident a big national or international ISP, with expertise to provide Internet/WiFi access, will sponsor the event. In any case, the Buenos Aires Libre free network group of experts will review the design of the WiFi coverage in order to guarantee the quality of service needed for the installation.
Catering and Social areas
- Breakfast: will be included with accommodation at Ibis/Novotel. Also, Corrientes Avenue is plenty of confiterías (coffeehouses) where breakfast costs near AR$5 ($1.5 USD) for a café con leche y medialunas.
- Lunch: will be served in one of the rooms in Centro Cultural General San Martín, served in buffet style.
- Drinks and on-site catering: The conference would provide catering during the conference breaks.
- Social areas
- One of the rooms will be accommodated as a lounge, with open space, couchs and drinks and catering, open every day until midnight. Centro Cultural San Martín also has many rooms with art galleries.
Ibis Hotel and Novotel are the two closest accommodations to Centro Cultural General San Martín. Located just one block away, they are being constructed as twin buildings facing Corrientes Avenue and will be inaugurated in late 2008. These two hotel can accommodate 400 guests in total, so there is chance to close the hotels only for Wikimania participants and to get better room rates. Preliminary conversations with Accor have taken place to book in advance.
- Ibis: Accor middle range of hotels, the estimate cost per night will be 45-60 USD. This three-stars hotel will be a twelve-floor brand new building. The room will offer a bathroom and toilet, a desk, double bed, wardrobe space, and international and local channels on the television. The cost will include breakfast. It is important to underline that this is the frontdesk rate and the bid team expectative is to hire the entire hotel and this will suppose an important discount. The preliminary conversations with Accor are going in this direction. Besides, one of our goals is to cover 50% of the accommodations with sponsorship.
- Novotel: Accor business-oriented hotel, the estimated cost per night will be 60-90 USD. This four stars hotel will be a twelve-floor brand new building. The room will contain amenities such as a double bed plus sofa bed, a desk with broadband internet access, satellite television, wardrobe, mini-bar, air conditioning and automatic alarm clock. All bedrooms will have a bathroom with basic facilities. Conference rooms and business centers would be available for casual meetings.
- Sponsorship should be able to cover all party costs
- Attendees party, for large numbers:
- Museo Renault : Located in the ground floor of Alcorta Palace, Museo Renault has four lounges: San Martín, Ocampo, SUM an Privee and a car museum.
- For VIPs and sponsors:
- Café de los Angelitos: a traditional tango show restaurant, in the traditional corner of Rivadavia and Rincón. Revamped in accordance with an ambitius architectural project, its 1500 square meters consisting of two floors and a basement, display luxury and distinction even in the most insignificant details.
Budget and local sponsorship opportunities
|Venue||Hall, rooms and basic technical facilities||3 days||no cost||no cost|
|Hall, rooms and basic technical facilities pre/post conference||3 days||no cost||no cost|
|Accomodation||rooms + breakfast||350 rooms * 5 days||280000||88189||We expect to get a great discount from Accor reservating the entire hotel (and many rooms in next-door Novotel for VIP attendees). Also, our plans are to cover 50% of the accommodations with sponsorships.|
|Technical Facilities||WiFi, A/V recording||5 days||25000||7874||Halls and rooms have basic audiovisual equipment. We plan to improve WiFi hotspots, and a better internet conection for A/V streaming. CafeLUG and Buenos Aires Libre will help setting these facilities.|
|Insurance||for 500 attendees||30000||9449||We expect this medical insurance will be provided by a dedicated sponsor.|
|Catering||lunch, drinks, on-site catering||500 attendees * 5 days||62500||19685||We expect drinks and on-site catering will be provided by a dedicated sponsor.|
|Promotional Materials||Posters, flags, t-shirts, mates, pins, souvenirs||for 500 attendees||40000||12598|
|Conference Materials||Badges,wikibooks, maps||for 500 attendees||10000||3150|
|Transportation||from and to Ezeiza airport||for 300 attendees + 50 VIP||29400||9260||We expect transportation from and to Ezeiza airport and from hotel to party venue will be provided by a dedicated sponsor.|
|Organization team||Transportation, volunteers (50), uniforms, security||30000||9449|
|Scholarships||50 full scholarships||200000||62992|
|Party||General party||500 attendees||50000||15748||We expect dedicated sponsors for general party.|
|VIP party||100 VIP||25000||7874||We expect dedicated sponsors for general party.|
|Total amount to be raised||851,900||268,315|
calculated assuming 1 USD = 3.175 ARS
We have planned three main phases. An initial planning phase until July 2008: we plan to get feedback for this plan at Wikimania 2008. After that, the planning phase will start and end two months before the conference. The final phase will take place from July 2009 until two weeks after the conference.
The following list is an overview of the plan:
- Initial phase (March 2008 - July 2008)
- Lodging (pricing and availability)
- Venue (info about availability of resources)
- Sponsorship (Talks with local sponsors, MoU with sponsors)
- Definition of conference dates
- Presentation of the plan in Wikimania 2008. Getting feeedback and reformulation of the plan.
- Planning phase (August 2008 - July 2009)
- Lodging (contract negotiation and signature, confirmation of number of rooms, paying)
- Venue (gathering additional needs and resources, contracting of additional resources and services)
- Sponsorship (negotiation and contract signature, receive payments)
- Registration (preparation of the process, early registration and registration)
- Programme and scholarships (keynote conference planning, call for presentations, draft programme, preparation and call for scholarships)
- Misc tasks (parties, network provisioning, catering, material to give to the audience)
- Final phase (July 2009 - September 2009)
- Final programme
- Final preparation
- Wikimania 2009
- Post conference tasks
We are in talks with important firms of both the international and local level, but of course more will come if Buenos Aires is chosen.
- Grupo Santander, banking group centered around Banco Santander, the largest bank in Spain, third largest bank in Europe in terms of market capitalization, and also has numerous operations in Latin America.
- Universia, an university network with more than 1000 Ibero American universities participating.
- Telefónica/movistar, a Spanish telecommunications company. Operating globally, it is one of the largest fixed-line and mobile telecommunications companies in the world
- Nokia, Finnish multinational communications corporation, focused on wired and wireless telecommunications,
- Accor, large French multinational corporation, running chains of hotels and restaurants
- LAN Airlines, the principal Chilean airline and one of the largest in South America
- Globant, an Argentinean Software development and maintenance company
- Media Sponsors
- La Nación, an Argentine daily newspaper
- Local Co-organizers
Wikimedia Argentina is a well consolidated working group of about 30 people.
Eleven "formal" meetups have taken place in Argentina since 2004, nine of them in Buenos Aires. In addition, informal and workgroup meetings take place regularly.
|August 2004||November 2005||October 2006|
|December 2006||March 2007||May 2007|
|July 2007||August 2007||September 2007|
|October 2007||November 2007||December 2007|
|January 2008||February 2008|
The Wikimedia Argentina team is behind this bid. Wikimedia Argentina is a private non-profit association, governed by the regulations of the Argentine Civil Code, and approved by Wikimedia Foundation as official local chapter.
Wikimedia Argentina is in contact with other groups of people from the free software/culture movement in Argentina. In particular with DebConf 2008 organizers and CaFeCONF people, a big national conference of free software organized yearly in Buenos Aires. Most of the core CaFeCONF organization staff are Wikimedia Argentina founder members.
Press and public relations
The group has an extensive experience with local and regional press. Juan David Ruiz is member of the Wikimedia Foundation Communications Committee, Leandro Kibisz collaborates with the Communication Project Group and Patricio Lorente has been in contact with local press during 2007. Nowadays this group handles most of the requests of Spanish language press about Wikimedia Foundation. In addition, the relation of Wikimedia Argentina with local press is managed by Beatriz Busaniche, who is in charge of the same task in the locally-renowned Vía Libre foundation.
This team has managed to get press coverage for Wikimedia Argentina news in most of the national newspapers, and has established contact with many public and private institutions.
More info about Wikimedia Argentina activities:
- Press articles about Wikimedia Argentina
- Canal-ar, august 28th, 2007
- Blog del Gobierno de la Ciudad, august 30th, 2007
- Infobae profesional, august 31st, 2007
- Infobae, september 3rd, 2007
- Canal-ar, september 3rd, 2007
- Perfil, september 9th, 2007
- El cronista, september 18th, 2007
- Dominio Digital, september 19th, 2007
- Diario del Norte. San Nicolás, Pcia. de Bs.As, september 19th, 2007
- Infobae. Anuncios Wikimedia-CaFeCONF, september 19th, 2007
- Bloggers Report, september 20th, 2007
- Canal-ar, Comunicado Wikimedia en CaFeCONF, septiembre 21st, 2007
- Infosertec Cobertura CaFeConf
- Infosertec Cobertura CaFeConf
- 20palabras.com en CaFeConf
- Infobae Profesional Comunicado "Commons llegó a 2 millones de archivos"
- Infosertec - Comunicado Commons
- Dominio Digital - Comunicado Commons
|Patricio Lorente||Enrique Chaparro||Juan David Ruiz|
|Press||Technical team||Venue coordinators|
|Leandro||Alexav8 | Mahadeva||Barcex|
|Beatriz Busaniche*||Rayis | Mariano Cecowski||Isha|
|Leo Monk* | Machu* | gacq* | Ariel Wainer*||Deleatur|
|FrancoIacomella||Gizmo II||Jane Doe*|
|Roberto Fiadone||Beatrice Murch|
|*also members of CaFeLUG and CaFeConf staff.|
Travel and Visa information
The following table summarize estimated cost for round-trip flights from all continents for August 2009, based on search results at online travel agencies (expedia.com and opodo.com). Typical prices for August 2009 will not be available until September 2008, so the prices in this table are for 14-20 August 2008 and include taxes & fees.
Argentina is one of the most accessible countries for visitors, with very few visitors needing visas. Citizens of the following 65 countries do not need visa to enter Argentina:
This list is from August 2007. Updated info is available at Argentina's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Between airport and venue
Buenos Aires is served by the Ezeiza International Airport (IATA: EZE) located about 35 km from the city centre and connected with it through the Autopista Riccheri [sp] freeway. Shuttle buses run between Ezeiza Airport and the city centre, as well as regular taxis.
This airport has direct flights to: Australia (Sydney), Brazil (Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Río de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Florianopolis, Fortaleza, Salvador, Recife), Bolivia (Cochabamba, La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra), Canada (Toronto), Chile (Santiago de Chile), Colombia (Bogotá), Costa Rica (San Jose), Cuba (La Habana), Dominican Republic (Punta Cana), Ecuador (Guayaquil, Quito), France (Paris), Germany (Frankfurt), Italy (Milan, Rome), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Mexico (Mexico DF), Netherlands (Amsterdam), New Zealand (Auckland), Paraguay (Asunción), Panama, Peru (Lima), Senegal (Dakar), South Africa (Capetown, Johannesburg), Spain (Barcelona, Madrid), Uruguay (Montevideo), U.K. (London), U.S.A. (Atlanta, Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, Washington), Venezuela (Caracas).
Flights to/from Uruguay are also served from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (IATA:AEP), located within te city, 10 minutes from downtown Buenos Aires.
- Shuttle companies
- Manuel Tienda León has departures every 30 minutes from 06:00 AM to 00:00 AM (note that prices use the symbol $, which in this case means Argentine pesos, not US Dollars).
Buenos Aires has an effective and extensive public transportation network that connects all points of the city.
- By Bus
- Buses, locally known as colectivos, are the principal means of transport in Buenos Aires. There are about 200 different privately operated lines that run 24 hours a day, each one with its own route and painting scheme. Fares within the city boundaries —many lines also go to the Greater Buenos Aires area— are fixed between AR$0.90 and AR$1 (US$0.28 and 0.31 respectively). Bus stops are present all throughout the city, identifying the different lines by their number and route. To plan your trips on bus you can buy Guia T pocket guide, available at kiosks citywide (about US$1). The Buenos Aires interactive map, always a good source of information, also gives bus and driving directions.
- By Metro
- The Buenos Aires Metro, locally known as subte, comprises six underground lines that run below the main avenues. Four of them are radial lines that converge on downtown lines , while lines C and H connect the other four at different points. The fare is fixed at AR$90 cents per ride (about US$0.28) and allows for any combination between lines. Tickets for 1, 2, 5 or 10 trips and refillable "electronic wallet" cards can be bought at the stations. The metro network is known for its long standing tradition of decorating stations with ceramic murals made by recognized painters and artists.
- Line A, Buenos Aires first subte, was opened as early as 1913. The Paris of the South, as the city is affectionately called, was thus one of the very first world capitals to count with the then revolutionary underground tramway. But the most surprising for the foreign visitor is that good old line A still works efficiently with its original rolling stock, the antique Le Brugeoise cars of wooden interiors. Sáenz Peña line A station is located just three blocks away of Centro Cultural General San Martín, the conference venue. Only one block away the conference site runs line B, served by modern japanese units. Uruguay line B station is then the preferred gateway for discovering underground Buenos Aires.
- By Train
- Buenos Aires benefits from the more than 800 km of rails that compose its suburban railway network. Lines Belgrano Norte, Belgrano Sur, Mitre, Roca, San Martín, and Urquiza —currently operated by different companies— enable quick and convenient access to nearly any point of the large metropolitan area that surrounds Buenos Aires city itself. Retiro and Plaza Constitución train stations are architectural jewels built by the British at the beggining of the 20th century that continue to receive and depart thousands of passengers daily.
- Taxi and other private means
- Taxis are available almost everywhere in Buenos Aires. While you can take a taxi in the street it is preferred to call a radio taxi company. Several of these companies are very professional and pick you up in 10 minutes at no extra cost. Taxi fares are fixed at ARS 3.10 (USD 1.00) for the first 200 metres, and ARS 0.31 (USD 0.10) for further 200 metres or minute. No peak-hour, night time or luggage surcharges apply.
- Radio taxi companies
- Taxi Premium. Dial 5238-0000
- Radio Taxi Pídalo. Dial 4956-1200
- Car rentals
- All major international car rental companies (Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Budget, National, Thrifty, Dollar) as good as many local ones operate in Buenos Aires, with offices in the major airports and in downtown. An European-type 4-door car can be rented at about USD 60.00/day plus VAT and airport charges (if applicable), with free mileage (for further data, please check your favourite car rental company's on-line reservation service). However, the option of renting a car for trasportation into Buenos Aires city is highly discouraged: city traffic is chaotic, parking spaces scarce and expensive, and Argentine drivers generally regarded as dangerous. Though renting a car between several people could be a good option for a sightseeing trip to the countryside around Buenos Aires, please drive carefully.
The peso (ISO 4217: ARS) is the currency of Argentina, and the symbol used locally for it is $ (to avoid confusion, Argentines frequently use US$ to indicate U.S. dollars). At the arrival halls of Ezeiza International Airport there are exchange desks. United States Dollar is a well-known currency in Argentina and nearly all bank offices in the city exchange US Dollars. Places that exchange Euro currency have been growing steadily over the years and nowadays Euros may be exchanged at many bank offices and at any exchange office. To exchange other currencies you may have to go to specialized exchange offices (known as casas de cambio); in the touristic areas there are always places where you can exchange money. The area of the city surrounded by Florida, Corrientes, Rivadavia and Alem streets, known as la city, is the financial district where most of the bank's headquarters are located, there you can find several exchange offices per block.
Throughout the city there are many ATMs, most of them are able to deliver Argentine pesos to virtually any credit or debit card, as they are part of both the Cirrus/Mastercard and Visa Plus international ATM networks. Some ATMs have the option of withdrawing US dollars, especially the ones in downtown. Traveller's cheques are accepted in touristic places, but are not so common outside them. Most credit and debit cards are widely accepted (Visa, Visa Electron, Maestro, Mastercard, AMEX, Diners, JCB), even outside of touristic areas.
Exchange rates as of February 6, 2008 for currencies exchanged in Buenos Aires (currencies not being displayed are hard to find in local exchange offices, probably you could change your currency to pesos anyway). Source: dolarhoy.com
Probably the best choice is to come with a credit or debit card and some US Dollars or Euros which can be exchanged to Argentine Pesos at competitive rates.
Cost of life
- Hot dog - AR$3.10 ($0.9 USD)
- Pizza (traditional size) - AR$15 ($4.7 USD)
- Tenedor libre (all you can eat) - AR$ 20 ($6.3 USD)
- Steak with salad and drink - AR$ 25 ($7.9 USD)
- Transportation Costs
- Metro Trip - AR$ 1.10 ($0.3 USD)
- Bus - AR$ 1.10 ($0.3 USD)
- Taxi service within downtown - starts at AR$ 3.80 ($1.00 USD) + AR$ 0.38 ($0.10 USD) per 200 metres or minute
Media and communications
- Mobile phones
There are three mobile operators in Buenos Aires: Telefónica Movistar, Telecom Personal and CTI Móvil. This three companies operate GSM networks in the 1900 and 850 MHz bands. If you like to be able to use your GSM phone in Buenos Aires, check if your device can operate in these bands. Most of Europe networks operate in the 900 and 1800 MHz, so if your phone is from Europe check that at least it supports a third band (either 1900 or 850 MHz). As roaming costs are expensive, you can also buy a GSM prepaid SIM card with a local number with no credit for about US$ 3. Telefónica Movistar also operates a CDMA2000 network. Check with your phone operator if your device will be able to roam in Buenos Aires. Telefónica Movistar and Telecom Personal have at the time of this writing (August 2007) limited coverage of UMTS/HSPA in selected areas of the city. It is expected to have much better coverage by August 2009.
A Gay friendly city
Buenos Aires is a gay friendly city that has emerged as the capital of gay tourism in South America because of its active night and gay-friendly atmosphere. The city has adopted the concept of “heterofriendly”, which speaks to a common ground, an understanding between gays and heterosexuals, a more integrated experience; Buenos Aires is an open city, without “gay ghettos”. Regarding gay rights recognition, Buenos Aires has became in 2002 the first city in Latin America to have a civil union law.
More information about this topic:
- Buenos Aires Gay Friendly - Official web site of the city Brochure (PDF)
- Guardian Unlimited - Gay World Cup kicks off in Buenos Aires
- BBC News - Gay tourists discover Buenos Aires
About the logo
- The Wikimania 2009 Buenos Aires logo is an original artwork performed by Ricardo Bianchi, a well-known "fileteado" painter, for Wikimedia Argentina.
- The "fileteado" is a popular artistic drawing, typical from Buenos Aires (more information about this artistic style in the Spanish Wikipedia and in Commons).
- Fileteado belongs to the urban folklore since the beginnings of the 20th century.
- The word "Viva" that precedes "Wikimania" is a Spanish expression of joy present in most Romance languages, including Portuguese, French, and Italian. It means "Long live Wikimania!"
- Buenos Aires is far from European and North American wikimedians
- Most international airlines serve Buenos Aires' Ezeiza airport and services tend to be relatively cheap in comparison with other past or proposed candidates. The city is a booming tourist destination and hub of transportation within Argentina, meaning it offers world-class facilities and is clearly connected with the rest of the world. The local flag carrier, Aerolíneas Argentinas, may be a good and statistically secure option for moving into the city. American Airlines, Universal Airlines, Iberia, British Airways, Air France/KLM, Lufthansa, Alitalia and other top-class airlines also offer services to and from Buenos Aires. On the other hand, the Northern Hemisphere presents the same weakness when thinking of people from the South. Apart from neighbouring Spanish-speaking countries, Brazil's immense Portuguese-speaking community of wikimedians is also near.
- The venue details on the bidding page were not fully complete by February 3rd
- The reason of our late completion of the bid was related to two issues:
- The bidding opened on December 15th (Christmas time), and took place during January. This was a very inconvenient period for the presentation of our bid, as January is the peak of summer vacation in Argentina. The people that we had to contact in order to prepare the bid and most of the bidding team members were on vacation at that time.
- A new mayor for Buenos Aires city was elected and took office in mid December. While we had selected the venue several months ago, we had to wait for the new mayor to take office to request the venue for Wikimania. Because of the summer period and this political situation we just got the venue confirmed at the beginning of February.
- As most of the bidding team has come back from vacation and city officials are beginning to have time to talk with us, we are planing to complete all the details about the venue as soon as possible.
- The reason of our late completion of the bid was related to two issues:
- Convenient venue in a vibrant city
- Argentina is one of the most accessible countries for visitors, with very few visitors needing visas. Citizens of 64 countries do not need visa to enter Argentina.
- Buenos Aires provides conference facilities, accommodation, public transport and Internet connectivity in line with any city of its kind and size.
- Buenos Aires is cosmopolitan. Shaped by immigration during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, porteño society is tolerant with cultural diversity as it has itself diverse roots. There are not serious issues of discrimination or segregation of any kind. Political, sexual and religious freedom are guaranteed by the State itself in the form of INADI, the active National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism. The city is, as said before, known as a gay-friendly place. Same-sex civil unions are legal since 2003 and Buenos Aires has its own edition of the Gay Pride Parade —in 2007 it even hosted the Gay Soccer World Cup, won by the Argentine Dogos.
- Buenos Aires has a vibrant cultural, intellectual and artistic life. Tango, its trademark music and dance, is present everywhere. Corrientes Avenue, one of its main streets —known as the street that never sleeps— offers an impressive number of theatres, cinemas and bookstores mixed up with street cafés and traditional restaurants where the visitor may find from well-known beef to the almost local Italian cuisine. Four blocks along Corrientes runs Avenida de Mayo, an important historical spot with tanguerías and the like.
- Buenos Aires is known for its low prices, combined with exchange advantage for carriers of Dollars and Euros.
- Centro Cultural General San Martín (CCGSM), the conference venue, is located right in the city centre, just one block from Corrientes and three from Avenida de Mayo, near the characteristic Obelisk. Being run by the city government, it is a regular free of charge host of cultural activities like Wikimanía. It offers exactly what our conference deserves and has the best location possible, and near the Subte (metro) and hundreds of bus lines.
- Accommodation is provided within a one-block range from the venue, notably by a new Ibis-Novotel hotel to be opened during 2008 that will offer nearly 500 beds at a price range between 45 to 60 Dollars per night.
- Strong and experienced organizing team
- Behind this bid is Wikimedia Argentina as organizing team, the local chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation. Composed by a core of ca. 30 very active members, our organization is product of regular wikimedian meetings that have been taking place in Buenos Aires since 2004, reinforced during the course of 2005 by the massification of Wikimedia projects. WA, despite recognized as a chapter a short time ago, has already considerable experience with massive conferences. It took part in October 2007 of CaFeConf, a national free software event held annually in Buenos Aires with a total attendance of nearly 1,500 people. Three of our members —including the President and Vice-President— have assisted previous Wikimanía editions, namely Frankfurt 2005, Harvard 2006 and Taipei 2007.
- Diversity and multilingualism
- It would be the first edition of Wikimanía in the Southern Hemisphere and the first in a Spanish-speaking country —in fact, the first with a Romance language as host. Spanish is between the second and fifth most spoken language in the world in terms of both native and total speakers, with increasing usage in international relations, business and communications. The UN counts Spanish as one of its working languages, and so do many other global organizations. Nearly all of Argentina's neighbour countries also have Spanish as their official language and the only exception is Brazil, whose Portuguese-speaking wikimedians benefit from a more than 90% of mutual intelligibility with Spanish. Spanish and Portuguese-based Wikimedia projects are among the biggest in terms of number of entries, database size and net traffic. The Spanish Wikipedia is the second more visited, with a 15 % of the total Wikipedia traffic, according to Alexa statistics. The third one is the French Wikipedia with a far 6 % of the total traffic.
- Wikimania has been held in North America, Europe, Asia, and in 2008 will be held in Africa. As said, it would be the first edition in the Southern Hemisphere and the first in South America. This helps to promote a world wide coverage and is in line with a geographic rotation criteria.
- In line with the latter, Buenos Aires' bid offers the effective possibility of providing simultaneous translation between Spanish and English, thus contributing to defeat the language barrier and put Wikimanía a step towards Wikimedia's policy of multilingualism. This way speakers may opt between the two languages at the time of exposing, enabling a more vivid and authentic participation by locals and visitor neighbours.