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TFWA cancels Asia Pacific show in Singapore

The Tax Free World Association (TFWA) has cancelled its Asia Pacific Exhibition and Conference in Singapore following “widespread concern” over the coronavirus outbreak.

The TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition and Conference was due to take place from 10-14 May in Singapore

The decision was made during a meeting today (5 March) held by the TFWA board and management committee. To date, there have been 117 cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Singapore.

The TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition and Conference was scheduled to take place from 10-14 May at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore. Last year’s show attracted 3,367 visitors from the duty free and travel retail industry.

The decision came following “widespread concern” from many of the show’s exhibitors and delegates regarding the “significant negative impact” of the coronavirus outbreak on the travel retail sector.

The management committee considered the need to “ensure as far as possible the health and safety of TFWA’s customers, staff and all who attend the event”.

It also said that “certain key nationalities are currently subject to immigration restrictions in Singapore, with further travel restrictions possible”.

‘Huge impact’

“This is not a decision that we wanted to take, nor is it one the board and management committee has taken lightly,” said TFWA president Alain Maingreaud.

“However, we feel that cancelling the event is the best and most responsible course of action, given the health crisis that has spread throughout the world, and the huge impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on our market.

“We trust that our customers and business partners, especially in Asia Pacific, will understand our decision and accept that it has been taken with the best interests of the industry, and those who serve it, in mind.

“We remain fully committed to our mission to provide the duty free and travel retail industry with a platform to prosper, and we will return to Asia Pacific in 2021 with renewed vigour and confidence in our industry’s resilience and capacity for re-invention.”

Last month, Maingreaud told The Spirits Business that the coronavirus outbreak will have a “significant” short-term impact on the travel retail industry, but the sector “must be ready for the rebound when it comes”.

The decision follows a similar move this week by the International Association of Airport and Duty Free Stores (IAADFS), which cancelled its Summit of the Americas show in Orlando due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

German trade show ProWein was also forced to postpone its 2020 show this week over coronavirus concerns. Last year’s event hosted more than 6,900 exhibitors and welcomed more than 61,500 guests from around the world.

Wine and spirits trade show Vinexpo Hong Kong also announced a later date for this year’s show due to coronavirus concerns, moving the dates from May to July.

In the March 2020 issue of The Spirits Business, we took an in-depth look at the impact Covid-19 could have on the spirits industry’s long-term prosperity.

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