Cisco’s flagship APAC event Cisco Live was due to run at the MCEC from March 3 to 6, but has been cancelled due to the firm’s clampdown on non-essential travel as COVID-19 spreads around the globe. Today, Feb 26, the Australian government activated its pandemic plan, which outlines its strategy to deal with the virus when it almost inevitably arrives here. Australian production firms are now feeling the pinch, as corporate events that require international travel are being called off. CX has confirmed cancellations with multiple major players that are affecting the bottom line to the tune of six figures and more.
If the situation deteriorates, cancellations will likely spread across the entire spectrum of events, including sports and concert touring. As of Wed 26 Feb, Michael Cassel Group has cancelled a Chinese leg of The Lion King, an Australian production of Come From Away is likely not going ahead in Shanghai, and Sydney popster Ruel has rescheduled concerts in Asia to September.
This is a double blow for the Australian production industry, following a summer of bushfires that caused the cancellation of outdoor festivals both large and small. Corporate events were also affected, as companies refused to send their employees into Sydney and Canberra’s hazardous air quality.
Question marks now hang over all major international events, including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in July and August, which Australian providers are contracted for.
CX Magazine is due to cover Frankfurt’s PL+S tradeshow in just five weeks, but with the virus now confirmed in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Croatia, we are considering our options. After several conversations with Australians planning to travel to Frankfurt, we urge you to check in with your travel insurance provider to confirm that you will be covered in the event of the WHO declaring a pandemic, which is likely.
With COVID-19 most likely spreading through south-east Asia without detection or reporting, Australian companies doing business in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam will be exposed to increased risks.
On the material side, manufacturing in China has been heavily affected, with many factories still closed after the Lunar New Year holiday. While the ramifications are unclear, the supply of parts and materials to manufacturers of lighting and audio equipment in Shenzhen will likely be affected, possibly resulting in stock shortages later in the year.
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