Although at press time Australia was considered SARS-free — with some cases reported but all since recovered, and no local transmission — the epidemic has nevertheless exacted some toll on the local trade-show sector.

According to a recent report by the Westpac Bank, SARS could reduce Australia’s economic growth this year by 0.3 percent. The travel industry is likely to be the hardest hit, with arrivals estimated to fall by 1.7 percent this year and outbound travel by 2 percent, compared with a pre-SARS forecast of a 0.8 percent rise. A separate survey by the State Chamber of Commerce found that 15 percent of businesses were facing losses of up to $32,973 as a result of SARS, with 10 percent facing losses of up to $659,419 — notably those businesses exporting to Asia.

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