The British Tourism and Travel Show (BTTS) has been postponed until next March owing to the coronavirus crisis.
The domestic tourism showcase had been due to be held over October 22-23 at the NEC in Birmingham. It will now take place over 24-25 March at the same venue.
"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," said the show’s organisers in a statement.
"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."
Exhibitors and associations supporting the decision include Visit Wales, Tourism Ireland, the 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.
The decision comes ahead of what is expected to be a short, but busy summer season for domestic tourism businesses, with the Foreign Office currently advising against all non-essential travel worldwide.
Group event director DAvid Maguire said: “Like all businesses, we have been closely following the rapidly changing developments during these difficult times.
"While we were hopeful 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 and 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."