Some APAC events press on with added precautionary measures

The Australian Pavilion at last year's FHA-Food & Beverage

Amid the gloom of multiple event cancellations that have hit Asia-Pacific as the Novel Coronavirus situation continues to develop, some tradeshow and event organisers have brought a sliver of hope to the industry with their determination to keep their shows going.

In Singapore, organiser Informa Markets will proceed with FHA-Food & Beverage as planned from March 31 to April 3, 2020, at the Singapore Expo, as the “event remains robust in the current climate and visitor pre-registrations continue to pour in”.

The Australian Pavilion at last year’s FHA-Food & Beverage

Informa Markets will continue to work closely with government authorities and agencies to put in place necessary measures, both pre-event and onsite, to help ensure the safety and confidence of the event’s participants.

However, Informa Markets’ FHA-HoReCa, originally scheduled for March 3-6, will be postponed to July 13-16.

When asked about the decision, Martyn Cox, event director for FHA-HoReCa and FHA-Food & Beverage, Informa Markets, told TTGmice: “In postponing FHA-HoReCa, the primary reason is the knock-on effects on the wider HoReCa industry relating to the trade of hospitality and food service equipment as a direct consequence of (affected) international travel during this period.”

“FHA-Food & Beverage will proceed as planned as the event serves a wide range of industry segments including retail, wholesale, e-commerce and F&B service that are not so much affected by the current situation in comparison.”

He added that even though FHA-HoReCa has been postponed, “withdrawal requests are minimal”.

Over in Jakarta, the ICCA Indonesia Committee is all set to hold the inaugural ICCA Indonesia Forum 2020 on February 25. As most of the attendees are Indonesians, with only a few speakers flying in from overseas, the event committee is confident that the flu outbreak will not impact participation.

And to minimise the negative impact of the outbreak on the incentive industry, the Association of the Indonesia Travel Agencies (ASTINDO) will be leveraging the two upcoming Astindo Travel Fairs as a platform to tell the public that travelling to certain countries is still safe and to emphasise the government’s outbreak prevention efforts.

ASTINDO’s secretary general Pauline Suharno said: “We will carry on with the travel fairs in Jakarta as planned on February 21-23, and Bali in early March, to help stimulate travel.”

Meanwhile in Bangkok, Future Energy Asia 2020 is taking place as planned this week, from February 12-14. The annual exhibition and conference, dedicated to advancing future energy solutions, will host over 150 exhibitors from nine countries/regions, 4,000 trade professional representations from over 50 countries, 1,000 conference delegates, and 200 industry speakers.

Organisers dmg events and ExpoSis, together with the exhibition venue BITEC, have implemented precautionary measures such as increased frequency of cleaning and sanitising common spaces, changing of air-con filters, and the provision of sanitisers at all key entrances and information counters.

Although SingEx Holdings was unable to comment on whether other events at the Singapore Expo would continue, Aloysius Arlando, its CEO, said: “With learnings from episodes of years past like SARS and H1N1 for example, Singapore’s MICE industry, today, is more prepared than it has ever been for such situations. It is with this preparedness and greater understanding that we can swiftly calibrate our course of actions that are in line with advisories from the authorities to mitigate the impact the outbreak will have on businesses in the MICE industry.

“For as long as we stay strong as a community, we are confident that the MICE industry is resilient and will bounce back from whatever setbacks that may come our way, as past experiences in SARS, H1N1, MERS and the haze have shown.”

Seeking to assure MICE stakeholders, Andrew Phua, director of exhibitions and conferences, Singapore Tourism Board, said: “Our MICE industry continues to operate and remains open for business. Nonetheless, we will continue to stay vigilant, strengthen our defences, and prepare for all scenarios. The health and safety of locals, visitors and industry partners remain a priority and we are monitoring the situation closely.”

Singapore is not alone in this, for ICCA and the Joint Meetings Industry Council have called upon all industry members to actively support measures that help restore and build confidence in event participation.

This includes ensuring that all policies and procedures within the industry’s spheres of influence that help secure the health and safety of event participants are in place and up to date; consulting with event organisers and related service providers to explore ways in which any programme adjustments that need to be made in response to outbreak-related impacts can be accommodated; and most importantly, continuing to support awareness of the essential roles of meetings, conventions, exhibitions and business events as drivers of recovery and advancement of global economic and societal development.


Update, February 17, 16.18: Informa Markets has just announced it is postponing the FHA-Food & Beverage event to a later date due to global travel concerns and the spill-over effects on the F&B industry in light of the latest developments regarding the Covid-19 outbreak. The event was originally scheduled to take place from March 31 to April 3, 2020, at Singapore Expo.

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