"On behalf of the AWCI Board of Directors, I regretfully inform you that AWCI's Convention & INTEX Expo 21, scheduled for October 17-20, 2021 in New Orleans, is cancelled due to concerns related to COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida.

This was not an easy decision. However, the Board and I are obligated to do what is in the best interests of the association and its members, guests and staff. COVID-19 and the Delta variant are still serious concerns with the United States considered Level 4 (high risk) by the CDC. The City of New Orleans has strict mask and proof of vaccination mandates in place for most venues. Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana as a Category 4 storm having a substantial impact throughout the state and resulting in massive damage to the electric grid. Concerns about appropriate levels of staffing in hotels, restaurants and other venues are only exacerbated due to both COVID-19 and the hurricane.

With all of these factors and the substantial increase in exhibitor cancellations within the past week, it has become clear that it is not possible for AWCI to hold and New Orleans to deliver the first-class convention and trade show experience that we demand and our attendees deserve.

The staff and I will be working on presenting some of the content planned for New Orleans in a different format and turn our attention toward AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo 22, April 2-7, 2022 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.

For AWCI attendees, registration fees that have been paid will be refunded back to the original form of payment within ninety (90) days.

All attendees should immediately review the following guidance:

1. Cancel your hotel room at Hilton New Orleans Riverside within 72 hours prior to your arrival date to receive a refund of your room deposit. To do so, call 855.760.0870. If your room was booked through aRes Travel, call 800.632.1686. If your room was booked through CISCA, please contact Shirley Wodynski at shirley.wodynski@cisca.org.

2. Call your airline. Most airlines are waiving change fees and allowing you to either rebook your ticket for a future flight or providing a voucher for the full amount of the ticket for a future booking.

A special thank you to our exhibitors, who have partnered with AWCI in an attempt to make this event a success this year, first in April and again in October. Unfortunately it was not meant to be, but we will all work together again to make AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo in April 2022 one of the best events AWCI has ever held.

All exhibitor and sponsor fees will be moved to the April 2022 INTEX Expo. More information will be shared in the near future. Any questions may be directed to Samantha Riemer at riemer@awci.org.

Any non-exhibitor questions may be directed to Karen Bilak at bilak@awci.org

As always, thank you for your patience, understanding and support of AWCI and the Convention and INTEX Expo.

Michael F. Stark, CAE