There were three last-minute stand bookings for the 2003 Taipei International Cycle Show, the CETRA-organised trade show in Taiwan, but eight overseas companies pulled out because of fears over severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Noticeable lack of overseas visitors at Taipei trade show

At the weekend The Taipei Times reported that Chao Yung-chuan, the secretary-general of China External Trade Development Council (CETRA), the non-profit making organiser of the Taipei show, was downplaying the impact of SARS:

"I think [the] cancellations are a result of the war in Iraq and not SARS," he said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) placed Taiwan on its list of "affected areas" for SARS late last week.

Many US visitors gave the show a miss this year. Most of the ‘usual’ Brits attended, including buyers from Moore Large, Orange, Halfords, Extra, Raleigh, Raleigh P&A, Concept, USE, Wildoo, Greyville, Strida, Tradewinds, Fishers Outdoor Leisure, Mission, Super Cycles and, of course, the entire staff of the European Cycle Development Agency.

Prior to the show, June Chang of CETRA had sent emails to bicycle media stressing that Taipei was "one of the world’s safest and healthiest cities" and that "Taiwan has a glowing health record, which means that recent outbreaks of influenza in Hong Kong, Singapore, and China have been largely kept off the island."

The show attracted 600 exhibitors. There’s no news yet on the official number of visitors.

The stubborn spread of SARS (aircraft outbound from Asia continue to be impounded if anybody on-board is suspected having SARS symptoms) may have a greater impact on the Shanghai cycle trade show at the beginning of May.

China’s Guangdong Province had 792 confirmed SARS cases in February, and 31 deaths.

Taiwanese cycle companies with factories in China are not currently travelling across the Taiwan Strait in the same numbers as pre-SARS.


All prescient and correct:Private Eye reports that the Hong Kong tourist board is currently advertising for visitors with a pic of the world famous skyline above the slogan ‘Hong Kong will take your breath away.’ Quite.…/199928

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