TFWA says “no plans to cancel or postpone” Singapore show

SINGAPORE. TFWA says it has no plans at this stage to postpone or cancel May’s TFWA Asia Pacific show, despite the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Asia.

In a statement, the Association said: “TFWA is monitoring very closely the serious situation that has developed globally following the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Given its planned event in the week of May 20, TFWA Asia Pacific, the Association is in close contact with the appropriate authorities, including the World Health Organization and the Singapore health authorities.

“The Association welcomes the news that the Singapore health authorities have responded very quickly and strongly to the outbreak: both confirmed sufferers and those who may have been in contact with the virus have been quarantined; passengers arriving from countries where cases of the SARS virus have been found are being screened prior to entry. TFWA is reassured that a large number of patients are recovering and being released from hospital to return home.

It added: “At this point in time, TFWA has no plans to cancel or postpone its event in Singapore, but it will continue to monitor the situation closely and will review the situation during the coming weeks.”

Comment: The TFWA statement comes hot on the heels of yesterday’s postponement of the China Travel Retail Summit due to have been held in Shanghai the week before TFWA Asia Pacific. It is the right decision to proceed at this stage, given Singapore’s impressive record in dealing with such matters quickly and transparently. But clearly if the outbreak worsens, TFWA will have some hard and urgent thinking to do. For now, it probably has little alternative but to sit tight and hope for the best. The Singaporean situation also differs from that in China, where the SARS crisis is at its most acute and where the real seriousness of the problem has only just emerged. In those circumstances, and given the event in question was a one day conference, the decision to postpone was equally correct.

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