I announced during our Annual Meeting this afternoon that we have been presented with a challenge pertaining to our 2021 ABA’s Marketplace and Busworld North America shows in Baltimore, June 18-22.
We were alerted a few days ago that Baltimore and the state of Maryland will continue to use the Baltimore Convention Center as an auxiliary medical facility through the end of June as they have done for the past 10 months. And, understandably, not knowing where COVID-19 numbers are going, they want to be cautious.
Marketplace is another victim of the continuing curse of 2020!
So where do we go from here? Whatever we do, the health and safety of our members and the industry is our number one priority … above and beyond anything else!
Today we have two options that we would like your input on:
1st Option - I have reached out to other CVBs and found a great location in the South that can host us during the same time, June (15-19). They have convention space, great hotels and are open for business.
2nd Option – To carry our robust virtual program, complete with up to 52 appointments each day, through our June Marketplace dates. A virtual Marketplace will include the same program: member research database ability, education by professional speakers as we have always had, and opportunities to network with one another as you would onsite.
Before we take this next step, we want you to think about your plans for Marketplace this year. On Feb. 1 ABA will send out a short survey asking for your preference.
This is your association, and we want to follow your direction. Look for the survey on Monday and get it back to us as soon as possible, and we’ll let you know where we will be seeing you in June, in person or virtually.
None of us know where COVID will be five months from now. And I know all of us are anxious to come together again where we can give hugs and shake hands and catch up in addition to doing lots of business. But we want to be safe and do what our members think works best for their safety and their business.
Thank you again for all you do and for your unwavering support.
All the best,