The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another important tobacco industry event–the 2020 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) trade show. The cancellation of the 2020 trade show and convention was announced by Cigar Aficionado earlier this afternoon after much speculation.
PCA 2020, formerly known as the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) trade show, was scheduled to take place July 10-14, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Sands Expo Center. Up until today’s announcement, the PCA was adamant that the trade show was going to go on as scheduled, but the ongoing complications introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic had many doubting this would happen. Las Vegas, like many cities across the globe, has been severely impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, forcing Las Vegas and many of its businesses including hotels, restaurants and venues, to close. Though the city is looking at reopening well before the July timeframe, the question of what Las Vegas would look like in the post COVID-19 era remained a big question. From limiting the number of people in elevators to possibly banning smoking, limiting gatherings to 250 people or fewer and limiting the occupancy of restaurants, for the foreseeable future, Las Vegas does not appear to be the ideal setting for a trade show the size of PCA 2020.
The decision to cancel the trade show was not an easy one to make, though it came following a discussion of the PCA Board and Associate Member Advisory Board, according to the report from Cigar Aficionado. The PCA trade show is among one of the top trade events for the premium cigar industry, with many of the year’s biggest releases typically introduced at the show. The 2020 show has faced numerous challenges, from pushback ignited by the announcement–and postponement–of CigarCon, which would have allowed consumers into the trade show for the first time in its history [read more here], to numerous large manufacturers including Altadis USA, Davidoff, Drew Estate and General Cigar, and Kretek International all announcing they would be pulling out of this year’s show [read more here]. Kretek International is the parent company of Tobacco Business magazine and the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE).
Here is what the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) had to say about its decision to cancel this year’s show:
“After much deliberation and careful discussions of every aspect of our annual convention and trade show, the PCA Board and the Associate Member Advisory Board have made the difficult decision to cancel our current event scheduled for July,” said PCA Executive Director Scott Pearce. “The annual event is an important fixture in the premium tobacco industry, and we were very excited to bring a whole new experience to the industry this year. However, the public health and safety of our attendees, staff and volunteers outweighed any other considerations in our collective decision-making process.”
PCA was in regular contact with our partners during this time to help us determine the best possible solutions for moving forward. Given the number of still-unknown factors related to the containment of the virus, and with PCA attendees coming from all over the country as well as internationally, PCA concluded that cancelling the July face-to-meeting meeting was the safe and responsible action.
“We understand how important this event is to the business needs of both our manufacturers and our retailers, so we are redoubling our efforts to create innovative new ways to aid our members this year,” Pearce said.
PCA has been working on some new ways for manufacturers and retailers to connect and has made the decision to fast-track these plans to launch some of these this year to help support retailers and manufacturers as the economy begins the slow process of opening and realizing some modest sense of normalcy. PCA will release the details of these new services in the coming weeks.
For all the latest news from the Premium Cigar Association, visit premiumcigars.org.