MSC Cruises’ latest flagship MSC Virtuosa will host the 2021 ITT Conference after the institute was forced to postpone the event in Istanbul for a year.
The conference had been due to be held in Istanbul this September but will now be pushed back to 2022 due to Turkey being on the UK government’s red list.
This year’s conference will run from September 11 onboard the 6,300-passenger vessel which is currently operating British Isles sailings out of Southampton.
ITT chairman Stephen Freudmann said: “Clearly we needed some time to prepare for the event and given the fact the traffic light system shows Turkey as a red destination, we had to look at plan b and plan c.
“We were delighted to have the offer from MSC Cruises that allowed us to have a realistic alternative and it’s a brilliant option in terms of cost. The cost of the three-day cruise is around the same as the Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel which is of course room-only.”
The number of delegates remains capped at 400, but for the first time ITT will welcome non-members to the conference. People can register to attend via the ITT website on a first-come-first served basis.
Antonio Paradiso, the line’s UK and Ireland managing director, said: “I am delighted to be hosting the conference on MSC Virtuosa. It is our best and latest ship.
“The decision has only been taken because of the current uncertainty – but it is a great opportunity.”
MSC changed its vaccination policy last month, meaning that all passengers on Virtuosa must have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine before August 27 to attend the conference.
It is the first time in the ITT’s history that its flagship conference has been held in the UK, Freudmann added.