The delayed World Travel & Tourism Council global summit in Mexico is to be staged in a hybrid format in 2021.

The 20th annual WTTC event, delayed postponed from spring 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be held in Cancun on March 23-25.

The hybrid format will include invitations to the live event, with restricted numbers and “extensive” outdoor sessions to ensure physical distancing.

Those unable to attend will be able to take part virtually, with up to 20,000 free online registrations available.

Testing and regular health checks will be among hygiene and safety protocols to be put in place for participants attending the summit at the Moon Palace Convention Centre.

WTTC will announce its major new initiatives for 2021 during the summit

President and chief executive Gloria Guevara said: “Every aspect of the 20th WTTC global summit is being explored to ensure it complies with the world’s best available health and hygiene protocols to show with best practice, how major conferences can be held safely and securely in the new normal.

“WTTC wants the global summit to learn from the challenges of the pandemic to showcase how we can use this experience to adapt to Covid-19, lead the global travel and tourism sector back to recovery and save millions of jobs – as well as thousands of businesses, large and small, which have been thrown into turmoil since the beginning of the year.

“The stakes in the travel and tourism sector could not be higher, so the WTTC platform provides an essential forum for the very highest industry leaders and key government representatives to discuss and take action.”

She added: “We must use the global summit to establish a consensus on international co-operation and co-ordination to accelerate the recovery, as well as public/private partnership and restore vital public confidence to travel safely once more.

“The global summit will benefit and showcase not only Mexico, but the wider regions of the US, Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez, governor of of the Quintana Roo state on on the Yucatan Peninsula, said: “The WTTC global summit in Cancun will be the place where we will discuss the future of tourism in the new world.

“We will implement enhanced safety and hygiene protocols such as mask wearing, physical distancing and sanitisation, along with fast turnaround testing, all of which will enable us to host a safe large-scale event.

“Today, Cancun airport operates more than 300 daily flights and the R rate remains below one.”