The Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Taupō, planned for November,have been deferred until early next year.

Taupō District Mayor David Trewavas said the postponement was expected given the effect Covid-19 was having on New Zealand and the world.

"This would have been a difficult decision, but the most important thing is that we as a community are ready to welcome these athletes when the time is right," he said.

The effects of Covid-19 had been devastating for tourism operators and accommodation, hospitality, and event providers in the Taupō district, with a third of employment related to the tourism sector.

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It is estimated the event will bring an economic return of $20 million to the district, which is two thirds of the return the district's events normally attracts over the whole year.

Trewavas said with the immediate concentration on attracting visitors from the domestic market to provide some relief in the short term, the deferment of the event would provide a much needed light at the end of the tunnel for the return of international visitors.

"We are proud to be home to Ironman New Zealand and are ready to showcase exactly why that is to the rest of the world. Bring on 2021."

Meanwhile the Ironman World Championships, orginially scheduled for October 10 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i has been moved to February 6 2021.