SARS plunges Far East C&I infrastructure into chaos

The SARS virus has thrown Asia’s C&I industry into uncertainty. The areas most afflicted, China’s Beijing, Shanxi and Guangdong provinces and Hong Kong, are the subject of warnings from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which advises against non-essential travel to those regions. Other areas of the Far East, such as Thailand and Singapore, are also feeling the strain although there are no specific warnings against travel to them. World Event Management (WEM) sales and marketing director Graham Keene said “alarm bells are ringing” at the mention of any Far Eastern country at the moment. “We’ve had two Far East events postponed – one to Hong Kong and one to Thailand,” he said. Linda Piggott, director at McGarvey Russell, also said clients were thinking twice about programmes to the Far East. “We have an event planned for an Asian destination this summer, but there is already a European contingency lined up, and the client will make a final decision nearer the event,” she added. A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Tourism Board said they know of two C&I groups to be postponed but long-term interest remains strong. The region’s hotels are reported to be running at below 10% occupancy, while Singaporean hotels are said to be at 30%, compared to 70% last year. A survey by the Singapore Hotel Association of 33 hotels representing 55% of the country’s stock found they had lost 65,000 bednights through cancellations between the end of March and June, amounting to a S$10.1m (£3.6m) loss in revenue. Asian countries are eager to work for long-term business though. Singapore has announced relief measures worth S$230m (£81m), while the Hong Kong government has set aside a HK$1bn (£80m) fund to promote travel, exhibitions and commerce as soon as the disease is under control. A series of large-scale promotions for Hong Kong will run for at least six months after the travel warnings are lifted.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
What the election result means for events

What the election result means for events

Following a landslide victory for the Conservative Party in the general election, what do key industry figures think about the result?

C&IT's APAC Awards now open for entries

C&IT's APAC Awards now open for entries

Brand new this year, C&IT will recognise the very best in events in the Asia Pacific region.

Which trends do corporate event planners expect to see next year?

Which trends do corporate event planners expect to see next year?

In part nine of our State of the Industry: Corporate Report, we asked corporate event planners what trends they expect to see in 2020.

Trinity Event Solutions appoints managing director

Trinity Event Solutions appoints managing director

Jenny Harding steps into a new role after ten years at the agency, where she has also been recognised for charitable work.

Top 3 incentive trends for 2020

Top 3 incentive trends for 2020

What are the biggest luxury travel requests that incentive planners should watch next year?

Plans revealed for major new Edinburgh arena

Plans revealed for major new Edinburgh arena

The 8,000 seater indoor arena in Scottish capital is expected to include conference space and hotels.

What corporate event planners want from suppliers

What corporate event planners want from suppliers

Part eight of the State of the Industry Corporate Report asks what the most influential factors are when choosing suppliers.

Australian bushfires: 'Natural phenomena and crises are always going to happen'

Australian bushfires: 'Natural phenomena and crises are always going to happen'

Tourism Australia's Penny Lion talks about the bushfire crisis and the country's booming events industry.

Top Banana hires non-executive director

Top Banana hires non-executive director

New addition brings more than 30 years experience to the agency and will mentor and advise the leadership team.

Why there's been a surge of new hotels in Perth

Why there's been a surge of new hotels in Perth

Its pristine beachfront rivals California, with massive investment in tourism creating new hotels and jobs.

LATEST JOBS