PARIS — The TFWA Asia Pacific travel-retail trade show, due to be held May 20-23 in Singapore, has been canceled.
This story first appeared in the April 24, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It’s among the latest casualties due to the outbreak of SARS, the war in Iraq and the ensuing downward trend in traveler footfall.
Trade show organizer Tax Free World Association said it had monitored the impact of such global events on the air-transport and travel-retail industries, plus held telephone and e-mail polls of intended show participants before announcing the cancellation.
“Most have stated that they would prefer not to travel to Singapore for the exhibition,” TFWA said in a statement Wednesday. It added: “The fear of the SARS impact has affected the global duty-free and travel-retail industry to such an extent that it is not viable to maintain the event.”
Show organizers added that about half of the exhibitors and numerous high-profile brands slated to attend TFWA Asia Pacific had withdrawn from the show and others intended to follow suit.
TFWA Asia Pacific is among the most prestigious travel-retail trade shows worldwide. In last year’s session, it registered 1,707 visitors, of which 87 percent came from the Asia-Oceania region. One-hundred-and-ninety exhibitors took part in the show.
“This year, the visitor figures were well up on last year — and on April 11, nearly 1,000 key visitors [buyers and agents] had already registered,” said a TFWA spokeswoman. “We fully expected to have a record turnout at the event.”
But the show couldn’t go on. Neither could the Global Airport Trade Event (Gate One), the Singapore-based conference on the development of airport commercial revenues set to run May 22-23, in tandem with the TFWA Asia Pacific event. Gate One was postponed by its organizers, TFWA and Airports Council International.