More Conferences Canceled as Southeast Prepares for Hurricane Dorian

September 3, 2019

As Hurricane Dorian ambles its way toward the Southeastern United States, it’s wreaking more havoc on conferences and conventions. Show organizers are taking precautions to protect the safety of those traveling to events — as well as the teams helping to execute them locally — by canceling or postponing those scheduled this week.

In Orlando, Surf Expo and Imprinted Sportswear Show, both slated to take place Sept. 5-7 at Orange County Convention Center, have been canceled. Hotel reservations will be automatically cancelled (with no fees incurred) and attendees were notified via email.

“We understand that Surf Expo plays an important part in connecting buyers and sellers… but travel and logistical difficulties — and, more importantly, our customers’ safety — is at the forefront of our minds,” said Roy Turner, show director.

He continued, “Given the state of affairs regarding Hurricane Dorian today, we had no choice but to cancel Surf Expo. We recognize that many of our customers will be directly impacted by Hurricane Dorian and feel their focus should be on their families, businesses and community at this time.”

This year’s FLAEYC Conference, the annual event for Florida Association for the Education of Young Children that was scheduled to take place Sept. 4-8 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, has been canceled by the organization's board of directors. 

The board conveyed the following reasons in an official statement: “FLAEYC is committed to the safety and wellbeing of the nearly 2,000 persons (hotel staff, contractors, vendors, exhibitors, presenters, attendees, etc.) involved with our conference. The Board has made this decision with them in mind. They belong with their families, able to stay put or evacuate to safety together. Emergency workers need roads and interstates to be as clear as possible.”

Also in Orlando, the Florida RV Trade Association has canceled its state members-only convention that was planned for Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek for Sept. 5-8. 

Georgia Association of Realtors canceled its annual conference and expo that was planned for Sept. 4-7 at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort and Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. All registrations will be refunded over the next 10 days, and hotel reservations have automatically been canceled at the Sawgrass Marriott.

"Due to the size of this storm, travel will likely be treacherous in the lower half of our state and in Florida for several days. The safety of our members is our top priority, and we agreed that we didn’t want to put anyone in harm’s way traveling to the conference,” said Chris Jiles, 2019 president of Georgia Realtors.

While no event cancelations at the Savannah Convention Center in Savannah, Ga. have been officially announced, the city has been under a mandatory evacuation order since noon on Sept. 2. 

Parts of the 18th annual Mustang Week, scheduled to take place this week in Myrtle Beach, S.C., have been canceled. Officials announced via Facebook yesterday that all track events for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were canceled, and that officials will continue to monitor the forecast before making a decision about Friday’s car show and Saturday’s cruise event.

In Columbia, S.C., officials with South Carolina’s Water Associations canceled the WEASC Mid Year Meeting planned for Sept. 5 at Pine Island Club. The news was announced via a video on Facebook.

Taking extra precaution, Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina is closing down Wednesday and Thursday, opening back Friday if the storm has passed, the resort’s PR team reports.

Meanwhile, North Carolina’s coastal cities are keeping an eye on the storm while taking a better-safe-than-sorry approach. 

According to Visit North Carolina officials, Wilmington Boat Show, which was set for Sept. 6-8 at the Wilmington Convention Center in Wilmington, N.C., is the only cancelation so far. However, with Dare County, Ocracoke Island, Oak Island, Bald Head and Cape Lookout all under mandatory evacuation orders, more cancelations are expected.

We will continue to update this story as more cancelations are reported. To all our friends along the Southeastern coastline, please be safe and know that you’re in our thoughts.

Has your meeting or conference been canceled due to Hurricane Dorian? Please email kogletree@tsnn.com to share more information and we’ll help spread the word.

Photo credit: CNN.com

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Partner Voices

One year ago, Seattle broke ground on Summit, the additional facility at Washington State Convention Center – right in the heart of downtown and just a block and a half away from the existing facility, Arch. Opening in Spring 2022, Summit has 16 groups already committed to placing their meeting in the new building, or using a combination of both buildings, reinforcing why WSCC’s central location in Seattle sets the city apart as a meeting location.