The Association says continuing uncertainty over the pandemic was the driving force behind the decision and it feels that a virtual Congress is the best option in 2021. The event will be held from Thursday 25th – Saturday 27th March.
Amanda Stranack, Chief Executive of the BSAVA, said: “A rich programme of content that makes full use of technology means attendees can still expect an event that brings together the veterinary professions for world-class CPD and the opportunity to network with delegates.
"Making this decision now means we can be sure there will be a safe and dedicated space for all our visitors, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors."
Manchester Central, the original venue for the 2021 Congress, is currently contracted as a Nightingale Hospital and that contract doesn’t conclude until 1st March 2021.
Amanda said: "While no one has a crystal ball, there is the possibility cases could increase over the winter and we cannot be certain the venue will be available to host our annual event.
"In order to ensure that delegates and exhibitors will have an excellent experience, moving Congress online is the most sensible option, without the need to worry about travel restrictions, or guidance that might change on a weekly basis.
"The positive is that without the need to travel Congress becomes accessible to a wider audience, with scope for more practitioners to attend more sessions. There’s a level of flexibility and convenience that’s just not possible with a physical event."
The BSAVA has partnered with a leading international provider of large-scale virtual conferences, tradeshows and exhibitions, with interactive elements facilitating one-to-one and group conversations.
The planned programme for 2021’s inaugural Manchester event is currently being repurposed for the virtual format, with a significant focus on ensuring the experience is as interactive as possible for each delegate.
Amanda said: “While we are deeply disappointed that we won’t, as a sector, be able to come together in person, we have made significant educational and financial investments in the online platform, to give us the tools to take the work we’ve been doing to deliver online CPD to the profession to a different level. We intend to make the most of that opportunity and provide a personalised experience, satisfy scientific curiosity and broaden horizons for all attendees.” Ian Ramsey, President of the BSAVA continued: “After months of lockdown, like many of our delegates, I was looking forward to meeting friends at the 2021 Congress at Manchester. Sadly, this is not to be, however BSAVA is going to be investing heavily in this project and I will be excited to welcome colleagues from the widest possible audience to what I think will be the best virtual small animal veterinary conference in the world. Of course, we are still also planning for a slow return to face- to-face events in the future when it is safe to do so, and more details will follow when there is greater clarity and confidence in physical events."
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