In a surprise move, the New York Times Travel Show, one of the largest travel shows in the world, has been cancelled. A statement on the show’s website says, “After continuous monitoring of the latest developments regarding the coronavirus, The New York Times has decided to cancel its 2021 Travel Show, originally slated for January 29-31, 2021.”
The site says the decision to cancel was “not taken lightly” but was “in line with our desire to support governmental health agencies” and was done “out of an abundance of caution.”
The New York Times show is the largest travel trade and consumer show in North America attracting over 34,000 attendees in January. The cancellation of next year’s show months in advance was a shock to many in the industry.
Patricia Schultz, whose book 1000 Places to See Before You Die (Workman Publishing) was published in 2003, the year of the first show, has spoken at the New York Times Travel Show nearly every year that it has been presented.
“Without doubt the cancellation of the 2021 NYT Travel Show came as something of a shock – perhaps not the fact that it was canceled, but that the announcement came in early June,” she says.
“Many entities in the travel industry are either pushing the envelope with early openings, while others are taking a wait and see stance.
“The cancellation of one of the world’s most important travel shows illustrates the abundance of precaution needed when orchestrating a show of this size in a venue the likes of the Javits Center – only weeks ago repurposed as a temporary field hospital during the city’s COVID crisis that went mostly unused.
“The breadth of exhibitors and visitors from every corner of the globe (and every corner of New York City) whose well-being needs to be kept in consideration cannot be ignored. I applaud the New York Times Travel Show folks for their prudence, though I join the legions who will be disappointed to miss what has long been an important highlight and networking tool of the travel calendar.
“I am hoping that something creative may fill its absence – like virtual panels or webinars drawing from their great roster of speakers and specialists. We’re all on standby.”
The New York Times has also temporarily shuttered its stand-alone Travel Sunday Times section and has reassigned its travel editors into lifestyle sections.