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The Association was established in 1989 bringing together the main show cave operators in Britain. It was called The British Association of Show Caves (BAS) at that time.

In 2001 the Association was expanded to include leading show caves in Ireland. The name of the Association was changed to The Association of British and Irish Show Caves (ABIS).

On 2010 the Association adopted a new Constitution, which included provisions for Affiliate and Associate Members in addition to Member Caves.