BANGKOK, 30 March 2020: More travel trade shows in Asia scheduled in May and June are dropping off the calendar as Covid-19 shows no signs of abating any time soon.
This time the coronavirus hits important travel trade events in Thailand, Nepal and India.
Back in January, showtimes scheduled six months in the future gave organisers hope that they might escape the Covid-19 onslaught.
Now, as the pandemic’s path and potency become clearer, events set for September and October could face the same moment of truth.
For the three shows scheduled in May and June travel restrictions, national lockdowns and the dramatic drop in airline services, worldwide, forced organisers to throw in the towel.
Thailand Travel Mart scheduled 1 to 3 June on Phuket Island has been postponed with no new dates set. Over its 20 years, TTM survived military coups and mass demonstrations but not the onslaught of the coronavirus.
Moving to Phuket for the first time the national travel show was part of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s 60th-anniversary celebrations. TTM attracts around 1,000 delegates a mix of hosted international travel buyers and travel content sellers from Thailand and neighbour countries.
A TAT statement released last week said the “decision was made after extensive and careful consideration of the current situation and outlook alongside our commitment to cooperate with government efforts to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.”
Phuket will get another shot at hosting the TTM possibly later this year. Traditionally hosted in the That capital, the show in recent years moved to Chiang Mai and Pattaya for two-year stints.
If TTM fails to reschedule this year, the popular tourist island in South Thailand will host the show in 2021 and 2022.
Nepal has watched its Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign collapse in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic that extends to 177 countries and has infected more than 700,000 persons.
Nepal’s inaugural Himalayan Travel Mart, billed as one of the highlights of the Visit Nepal Year’s initiatives falls by the wayside. It was due to convene 12 to 15 June, but will now reschedule to dates in 2021 to be confirmed later.
It leaves the Visit Nepal Year campaign in tatters at a time when the country was hoping to use the promotion to kick-start its tourism performance that has been in the doldrums since the Gorkha earthquake in April 2015.
In India, the organisers of the South India Travel Expo scheduled for the 7 to 10 May confirmed the show’s postponement in a recent notice posted on the website www.skhfsite.com but no information on new dates.
Three shows cancelled without any hints when they will reconvene. Short of a miracle, travel trade events further down the track could also suffer the same fate.
Possibly 2020 could close with little or no evidence of the familiar trade shows that are considered to be crucial for the success of trade promotions in Asia.