HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The 2020 AUSA Global Force Symposium has been canceled.
Association of the U.S. Army Director of Media Operations Rick Maze confirmed to WHNT News 19 the decision was made Monday night.
Maze said, “We wanted to do the right thing” and “we wanted to have a full meeting.”
Maze stated a number of factors led to the decision, including concerns from exhibitors regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The event, which has been held in Huntsville every year since 2014, had a record 6800 people attend and approximately 200 exhibitors in 2019.
AUSA said registered attendees and exhibitors will be contacted regarding cancelation and refund policies.
What this means for Huntsville
AUSA is one of the largest conventions held annually in the Rocket City.
“This morning they announced that the 2020 symposium would not be happening due to the on-going public health threat,” said Huntsville-Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing director Kristen Pepper.
The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus is prompting some industries to prioritize public health and shutdown large gatherings.
The economic impact is worth millions
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it can impact anyone who’s been in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19 or recently been in an area with on-going spread of the disease. AUSA would have drawn more than 6,000 guests to local hotels and other businesses downtown. It would have generated more than 3.6 million dollars for the local economy.
“Obviously with the CVB – we’re trying to support the local hospitality industry as much as we can,” said Pepper. “This is a big loss for us and for the hospitality industries.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about community
But locals can do something about the loss.
“We encourage our local residents with the travel impact that’s happening,” said Pepper. “We encourage our locals to get out and patronize our restaurants, our attractions.”
That will help pump money back into the local economy.
“We’re looking forward to having them back,” said Pepper.
2021 dates have already been set: Mar. 16 and 17, 2021.