The decision, announced Saturday by NATPE president and CEO JP Bommel, comes just 10 days before the annual confab was supposed to start.
Organizers of the event said new dates are under consideration. In addition, NATPE said it is developing a plan to hold both virtual and in-person events (when appropriate) throughout the year.
“Although this decision from a financial point of view will cost the organization a great deal of money, that was secondary to our primary concern, which is to put the welfare of our members first,” Bommel said Saturday. “We put a great deal of safety protocols in place, but it is just not enough given the intensity of this virus which is spreading at an enormous rate all over the world. We look forward to producing a strong conference at the right time and under the best circumstances and to provide all our attendees with the greatest value we can offer.”
Florida has been one of the states hardest hit by the new Covid wave, which is projected to peak at the end of January. While the state is among the most permissive in the U.S. in terms of the government’s stance on pandemic safety measures, the number of infections, along with travel headaches due to flight cancellations, made proceeding untenable. Other January events like the Sundance Film Festival, the Grammy Awards and video game conference E3, have also had to scrap their in-person editions. CES kicked off the year in person in Las Vegas, but its attendance was about one-third normal levels, and many large tech firms pulled out in the weeks leading up to the show.
Last year, NATPE Miami held a virtual conference. The 2021 NATPE International Budapest was postponed due to the Delta surge. It is slated for June.