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Pandemic: Int’l business events in disarray

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
The 8th ASEAN Competition Conference (ACC) took place from 14-15 November 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Asean.org

The Coronavirus outbreak plus a directive from the Cambodian Government have led to the cancellation or postponement of a long list of business-related events in Cambodia.

Many of those were international events that were supposed to bring in thousands of visitors, including prominent businesspeople. Cambodia’s growing reputation as a business hub has led organisers to bring such events to the Kingdom in the last few years.

Since last year, the Kingdom has hosted more than a few international gatherings in the area of gaming, shipping, aviation, cyber-security, oil industry and others. These include the Mekong Gaming Summit in September 2019, Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition in May 2019, Cyber Security Asia Conference 2019 in November and the 17th Asean Ports & Shipping 2019 seven months ago.

In the first half of this year, there were also many international business events lined up for holding in Phnom Penh and other parts of Cambodia. But unfortunately, due to the coronavirus outbreak, many of these events have to be cancelled or postponed.

According to the global events platform 10Times, no less than 10 major business-related events scheduled to be held in Cambodia from March to August this year have been cancelled or moved to another date because of the outbreak.

These events include the International Conference on Management and Information Technology that was supposed to be held at the High Sky Hotel in Phnom Penh from April 4 to 5 and International Conference on Humanities, Social Science and Business Management that was supposed to be staged at Angkor Park Guesthouse in Siem Reap from Apr 4 to 5.

The International Conference on Natural Science and Environment (June), and International Conference on Medical and Biosciences (July), two major international events with business implications, will also not be held as scheduled in Cambodia.

Not mentioned are the numerous local business events that were affected by the outbreak.

In addition, there are also some major events for the second half of 2020 whose fates are still uncertain, dependent on when this ongoing health crisis will end.

The second edition of the Oil & Gas Conference is among them. The 2nd Oil & Gas Conference is scheduled to be held at the Sokha Hotel in Phnom Penh from Jul 8 to 10.

The Cambodia Phar Med Expo, the biggest trade fair for the medical industry that attract participants from as far as Turkey, could also be affected. This year’s edition of Cambodia Phar Med Expo is slated to be held at the Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center in Phnom Penh from Aug 20 to 22.

Also in the same boat are the International CSR & Sustainability (ICS) Summit, which is scheduled for July 3 at NagaWorld Hotel in Phnom Penh; HMP Worldwide, a hospital, medical and pharma fair that Phnom Penh will be hosting from Jul 8 to 10; Logistic Leads Network Conference that is scheduled from Apr 18 to 20 at Dyvith Hotel in the capital; and International Conference on Integrated Science in Digital Age that is scheduled to be held in Siem Reap from May 1 to 3.

The organisers for the above events have yet to announce whether they will push through or not.

Despite optimism from some quarters, there is a general consensus that the Coronavirus will continue and even worsen in coming months, leaving a question mark above many planned events.

Globally, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections has reached more than 1.2 million.

In Cambodia, there are 104 confirmed cases so far. To ward off a more serious outbreak, the Cambodian Government has passed a State of Emergency declaration, which could be implemented any time this week.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said last week that Cambodia will cancel all international events because of the coronavirus outbreak pandemic, but he did not mention a timeframe.

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