This evening, ICANN announced that its ICANN69 event will be held virtually rather than in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic impacting people throughout the world. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) was scheduled to be held in Hamburg, Germany, but it will be held entirely online instead:
— ICANN (@ICANN) June 11, 2020
The meeting dates will remain the same, and the public meeting will be held October 17-22, 2020. Registration will be open to the general public.
Even though that is several months away, it is clearly the right decision. I highly doubt the majority of attendees would be willing to fly to internationally in just a few months. Even if this is wrong, it is doubtful people would book flights for a future conference.
This is the third ICANN meeting that was converted to a virtual meeting because of the coronavirus pandemic. ICANN67 was originally scheduled for Cancún, Mexico, and the upcoming ICANN68, originally scheduled for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will also be held virtually.
ICANN did not announce where the event will be hosted online. ICANN could use Zoom or an alternative video conferencing platform. I am sure that information will be forthcoming.
With the cost savings from not hosting a major event like the ICANN meeting, perhaps ICANN will consider holding off on the ICANN fee that is charged by domain registrars.