The organizing committee of GPD has been very optimistic to hold GPD 2021 as a physical and online event. As we prepared for the event during the year, our commitment was to deliver a unique and memorable event in October, this year. This was based on the improving covid situation and vaccination drives that looked very promising until July when the infection rates started rising again. As the situation continues to evolve, it appears that not all our targeted participants will have the chance to get fully vaccinated to be able to comfortably attend in person by October this year.
This rise in the infection rate has also brought some tighter restrictions in the venues selected to host our face-to-face social networking activities. The restrictions may affect the quality of these very important activities in GPD events.
Additionally, several interested participants have indicated that they may not be able to come to Finland in autumn 2021 due to travel restrictions set by their companies as well as in their countries. This means that hosting the event in October this year will most likely mean an online only event.
Given the above challenges, the opinion of various GPD partners is taken on whether the event should be held an online only event or a hybrid event. To capture the essence of GPD (i.e., meeting face to face and discussing/networking within a comprehensive 2-day conference program + online activities), majority of the partners prefer the event to be held in hybrid format instead of an online only version.
Based on this feedback, the GPD organizing committee has, regrettably, decided to postpone the 2021 event to the February 16-18, 2022.