SARS fells Singapore Broadcast Telecom shows

The Severe Acute Respiratory Sydrome (SARS) is not just swallowing up human victims who get ensarled in its murderous grasp. Two of the biggest broadcast and telecom related trade shows in Asia, BroadcastAsia and CommunicAsia, have fallen prey to it. Singapore Exhibition Services (SES), which is behind these two trade shows, has decided to forego the 2003 edition of the events which were scheduled to take place from June 17-20 at Suntec Singapore and Singapore Expo respectively.

Commenting on the decision, Mr. Stephen Tan, Chief Executive of SES said, "Together with our exhibitors and stakeholders, we have decided not to go ahead with the shows. This is a very difficult decision borne out of necessity due to SARS outbreak and the lack of options for a suitable time frame in which to re-schedule the events. It is also our utmost priority to safeguard the well being of our exhibitors and visitors who have shown us unwavering support all these years."

As the SARS outbreak in Asia has not stabilised, exhibitors and visitors alike had expressed concerns about their safety at the shows. With the WHO and U.S. CDC advisories against traveling to SARS affected areas, it became clear that foreign visitorship to the shows would be severely affected. 

SES says that it had considered postponing the shows to the second half of the year but no suitable alternative window was available as the world calendar for this period is already filled with other events such as BIRTV (Beijing), IBC (Amsterdam), ITU World Telecom (Geneva), CTIA Wireless (Las Vegas), InterBee (Japan) and Comdex (Las Vegas). 

Tan pointed out that many exhibitors and buyers are already committed to exhibiting at and visiting these events. It would therefore be difficult to identify a suitable slot without moving them too close to next year's shows. The next BroadcastAsia and CommunicAsia are scheduled to take place from 15-18 June 2004. 

"This is the most expensive option open to us but we see this as a long-term business decision. We have to fulfill our responsibility to our exhibitors as well as to preserve the quality and integrity of the shows," added Tan.

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