TORONTO — WestJet says it is postponing its spring 2020 WestJet Travel Trade Expos.
It’s the latest event deferral in an unprecedented week of operation suspensions, closures and cancellations for the travel industry amid panic over the coronavirus outbreak.
“It is with disappointment that we have decided to postpone these events due to of the safety implications of COVID-19. We are working to secure new dates for these expos and are currently planning to host them in the Fall of 2020 in conjunction with our secondary expos,” says a notification from WestJet to its Travel Trade Expo exhibitor partners.
WestJet also outlined next steps ….
“Please contact the hotel directly to cancel your reservations in each of the cities you were planning to attend. Unfortunately, WestJet is unable to assist with cancelling these reservations as they were not booked through WestJet.”
“Please email email@example.com with your WestJet reservation code so we can assist you with cancelling your reservation. You will receive a refund to the original form of payment. We will provide you with new booking information when the expos have been rescheduled.”
The company says more information will be communicated in the coming weeks.
“The travel industry needs our support right now and we are devoted to keeping our lines of communication open and making decisions in the best interest of our people, our partners, our business and the travel industry as a whole,” says WestJet.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and we will be in touch with new dates as soon as they are secured.”
More information on WestJet’s response to COVID-19 is at the company’s website.
Last week another supplier, TravelBrands, announced it was cancelling its Agent Appreciation events, scheduled to take place in cities across Canada this spring. TravelBrands CEO Frank DeMarinis said the decision to cancel was a difficult one. “Our choice to cancel the shows this year is a precautionary, yet necessary measure,” he said in a message to agents on March 4.
And yesterday came word that Mexico’s annual travel industry trade show and conference Tianguis will be postponed until September.
After insisting as recently as March 10 that the show would proceed as scheduled, Tianguis organizers announced yesterday they would defer the event until Sept. 19 – 22. The original dates were March 22 – 25.
The news follows the cancellation of ITB Berlin, announced in late February.