The British Tourism & Travel Show has been postponed until March 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The travel trade event was due to take place at the NEC Birmingham in March, but was initially postponed until October. It will now take place on March 24-25 next year.

In a statement, the show’s organisers said: “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.”

David Maguire, BTTS’s group event director, said: “Like all businesses, we have been closely following the rapidly changing developments during these difficult times.

“Whilst we were hopeful that 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 & Travel Show.

“Clearly, the best and most responsible option for everyone involved is to wait and host an even better event in 2021.”

He added: “The good news is that much of the event planning is already in place, and we go into 2021 with an incredible amount of goodwill and support.  We would like to thank everyone – our exhibitors, visitors, speakers and partners – for their support, and we look forward to working together to ensure that BTTS continues to be the celebration and gathering the industry deserves – and can be proud of.”

Anne Blackham, marketing manager for Devon’s Top Attractions, says: “We fully support the hard decision to move BTTS to March 2021.  It is the most sensible and safest decision to make during these unprecedented times.

“Hopefully confidence will be renewed by early next year within the group travel and travel trade markets, and tourism as a whole will start to thrive again.”

Organisers said a decision on the 2020 British Coach Tourism Awards was still being finalised and would be announced soon.