Economist Song Seng Wun was all set to take part in a panel discussion at the Singapore Exchange (SGX) annual Active Traders Fair on Feb 22 until the coronavirus stepped in and led to the event being cancelled.
“I don’t blame them. They have to take precautionary measures,” noted Mr Song.
There have been a growing number of postponements or cancellations of corporate events in Singapore, particularly those with large mainland Chinese participation, as more countries impose border controls and other containment measures.
The SGX is cancelling or postponing all mass events to be held at its premises except for its weekly securities market opening and listing ceremonies.
The Reit Association of Singapore (Reitas) announced on Feb 4 that it is cancelling all its February events “involving large groups of people” because of uncertainty over the virus situation.
“This includes the Maybank-Reitas-SGX S-Reit Day in Kuala Lumpur (Feb 19), Annual Networking luncheon (Feb 21) and Reit Management course (Feb 25 and 27). We will try to re-schedule… when the virus situation clears,” Reitas said, adding that it has not decided on its March events.
Mr Alvin Lim, executive director, brand and customer experience at SingEx Holdings, told The Straits Times that it expects events with larger Chinese participation to be postponed or even cancelled.
“We are seeing increasing travel restrictions from companies and countries that have suspected cases, which will definitely have an impact on the number of event attendees,” he noted.
As the travel restrictions for Chinese nationals intensified, delegations and exhibitors to events have been affected. As a result, Chinese tour groups who are coming into Singapore for incentive travel have naturally been cancelled or postponed to a later date.
However, some corporate events will continue as scheduled, including, the 6th annual Mining Investment Asia conference being organised by Spire Events for March 17 to 20.
“The coronavirus outbreak in Singapore has raised concerns among some of our overseas attendees. At this moment, it is still too early to tell if there will be a significant drop or last-minute cancellations,” a Spire Events spokesman said.