IBTM Events has announced that IBTM World 2020, which was set to take place as a live event on Barcelona in December, will 'transition' to a virtual event.
In a statement shared with partners, event director, David Thompson, said the difficult decision was made as a result of "incredibly unpredictable travel restrictions".
“Whilst we have been planning positively for a live event in December, and we know that people want to get back to meeting face-to-face, the situation across Europe and the wider world remains very changeable," he said.
"Therefore, even though the show is still some months away, we believe we have a responsibility to provide clarity to enable our partners, exhibitors, buyers and visitors to plan for the future."
Thompson continued: “This has been a difficult decision to take and we are very disappointed that we will not be able to bring the industry together in person in 2020 – the first year since 1988 that IBTM World will not take place as a live event. Our team and our partners in Barcelona have worked incredibly hard on IBTM World and while we are very sorry that the face-to-face event will not take place, we are confident that moving to virtual allows us to still provide a place for the global business events industry to gather and to do business.”
Commenting on the news, Christoph Tessmar, director of Barcelona Convention Bureau, said: “We are very sad that IBTM World will not take place live in Barcelona this year. We all wanted, and indeed hoped that we would be able to get back to meeting face-to-face this year, and I know this has been an incredibly difficult decision for everyone involved. We remain committed and supportive partners of IBTM World and together we very much look forward to hosting the global events industry in Barcelona next year.”
IBTM World Virtual will take place from 8 – 10 December 2020 and will incorporate one-to-one meetings between exhibitors and buyers, as well as a knowledge programme, with a range of targeted education sessions.
Shane Hannam, IBTM portfolio director, added: “We remain extremely grateful for the understanding and strong support from our partners and customers across our global portfolio throughout this pandemic and sincerely wish everyone a swift return to normal life soon. We are committed to Barcelona as a host city for IBTM World in 2021 and look forward to returning next year to meet with as many customers and partners in person as possible.”
Further information on IBTM World Virtual will be released in the coming days.