The Passenger Vessel Association's (PVA) board of directors voted earlier this month to cancel PVA's annual convention that was scheduled to take place in February in Portland, Ore.

PVA, which made the announcement Tuesday, said the convention was cancelled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and out of concern for the health and safety of PVA members and staff. To assist in making the decision, PVA distributed a questionnaire to all its vessel and associate members. The survey asked participants to respond to questions to help PVA understand their comfort with and inclination toward attending the MariTrends 2021 convention. PVA also asked members to indicate whether or not they would be interested in participating in a virtual convention.

Most survey respondents said that they were not likely to attend MariTrends 2021 as a face-to-face convention. Sixty-three percent of vessel members and 38% of associate members indicated that they were not at all or somewhat not likely to attend MariTrends 2021 in Portland. Nearly half of associate members also expressed concern over low attendance as a barrier to participating in the convention.

However, most respondents indicated they would be willing to attend MariTrends 2021 virtually. Sixty-five percent of PVA vessel member respondents and 45% of associate member respondents said they are very likely or somewhat likely to attend a virtual convention.

As a result, PVA will develop options for a virtual convention in 2021. PVA said the goal is to develop an "exceptional" virtual MariTrends 2021 event that "promotes the participation of PVA vessel and associate members and leverages best practices for virtual engagement." PVA said it intends to offer quality keynote speakers, expert seminars, and engaging roundtables, while also providing associate members with a visible platform to showcase their products and services.

In addition to modifying plans for MariTrends 2021, PVA said it was also canceling in-person regional meetings.