This year’s British Tourism & Travel Show (BTTS) has sadly been postponed until 2021, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The UK and Ireland’s leading domestic travel trade event, known for showcasing 100s of top visitor attractions, tours, events, packages, destinations, and experiences, will now run next year on 24-25 March at the NEC Birmingham.
The magnitude and unprecedented scale of the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent government restrictions have affected the lives and livelihoods of people and businesses around the world. With those working in, and supplying, the travel, tourism, hospitality, and leisure sectors among the worst hit.
While the UK’s strict lockdown measures are expected to ease over the coming months, social distancing and restrictions on mass gatherings will remain for the foreseeable future. Notably, many of the show’s exhibitors and visitors are among the 7.5 million people currently furloughed, with thousands of businesses and destinations waiting to reopen, which makes it even harder for firms to plan many months ahead.
David Maguire, BTTS’s group event director, says: “Like all businesses, we have been closely following the rapidly changing developments during these difficult times. Whilst we were hopeful that the current tough measures on restricted social interaction would be lifted by the autumn, there are still too many questions surrounding hotels, travel, social distancing measures, and individual company policies, to make it viable to run this year’s British Tourism & Travel Show. Clearly, the best and most responsible option for everyone involved is to wait and host an even better event in 2021.
“We appreciate how important BTTS is to the industry it serves and are very sorry to disappoint the thousands of attendees that were planning on exhibiting and visiting. However, the success as well as the safety of our exhibitors, speakers and visitors has always been our priority and we are hoping that everyone will get behind this tough but necessary decision.
“The good news is that much of the event planning is already in place, and we go into 2021 with an incredible amount of good will and support. We would like to thank everyone – our exhibitors, visitors, speakers and partners – for their support, and we look forward to working together to ensure that BTTS continues to be the celebration and gathering the industry deserves – and can be proud of.”
The decision to postpone has been widely supported by the show’s exhibitors and associations, including Visit Wales, Tourism Ireland, Coach Tourism Association (CTA), Albatross Travel, Hilton Worldwide, Marketing Liverpool, Action Tours, ITO Tours, Ashley & Newey, Advantage Now, Greatdays Travel Group, Roeville, Warner Leisure Hotels, Cotswold Tourism, and Devon’s Top Attractions, among others.
Anne Blackham, marketing manager for Devon’s Top Attractions, says: “We fully support the hard decision to move BTTS to March 2021. It is the most sensible and safest decision to make during these unprecedented times. Hopefully confidence will be renewed by early next year within the group travel and travel trade markets, and tourism as a whole will start to thrive again. We think the decision to postpone is the right one and will result in the 2021 show being the usual busy, productive and successful show that we have always been used to.”