NATOA Members and Friends,
As your NATOA President and Executive Director, we are deeply saddened to have to write this letter. After much deliberation and a survey of our membership, NATOA's Board of Directors has unanimously voted not to hold the 40th Annual Conference in person this fall in Denver, CO.
We know that this is disappointing to many of you, as it is for NATOA leadership and staff. We carefully considered the costs to the organization, the well-being of our attendees, the economic hardship of our member communities and our responsibilities as individuals and as an organization to the public health and safety.
Now is more important than ever for local governments to connect and plan for the future so we are transitioning to an interactive, virtual format. While we know that it is impossible to preserve all parts of our in-person meeting and replicate direct in person connection, we want to bring you the education, experience and information-sharing that you have come to expect from us. It is too early for us to be able to provide the details about these events right now, but we are planning to offer a mix of prerecorded and live sessions. These are not just fancy webinars. There will be keynotes, panel sessions, roundtables and networking in online lounges and virtual gathering spots. There will be learning, connection and, as you can expect with any NATOA event, there will be fun!
Stay tuned for more information on the timing and pricing for the virtual event(s) as well as opportunities for our sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers. We envision that this virtual event will provide a unique environment for large-scale participation across the country and will provide our vendors with greater visibility and reach.
If you have already registered for the conference, we will be contacting you directly to discuss options for both 2020 and 2021. If you already made travel plans for Denver, you are responsible for cancelling your airline and hotel reservations. Please make sure to reach out directly to your hotel to cancel your upcoming reservation. In addition, you'll need to reach out to your airline directly to cancel your flight. Each airline's policies for how they are dealing with reservations, cancellations and change fees in the wake of COVID-19 are different, but most are reportedly being cooperative and helpful.
We are thankful for the thoughtful and dedicated members and friends in our NATOA community and for your unwavering support. We appreciate every one of you and look forward to connecting with you virtually this fall.
NATOA Executive Director