“Towards the end of last week, our events team came to the view that, on the best advice available, the event could not go ahead. Following meetings with the venue, the government and our key stakeholders today and yesterday, that decision has been confirmed,” Harper said.
“Obviously we were reluctant to make the call and are disappointed that we cannot proceed at this stage, but our priority is, and always has been, the well-being of our friends and colleagues across the industry.
“While we know that many people will have already made travel plans, and this decision may cause both cost and inconvenience, the overwhelming evidence both from leading medical advisors and the authorities here in Australia is to absolutely minimise unnecessary travel and avoid large gatherings wherever possible. The experience overseas underlines that this is the only sensible course of action.”
Harper says his team was working closely with the Queensland Government and the Gold Coast Exhibition & Convention Centre on possible future dates, and would announce progress in due course.
Meanwhile, he said, the Visual Connections team, in consultation with the industry suppliers who form its membership, is already collaborating on ways in which this information and connection can be achieved during the crisis, with Harper saying more news on this will be released as plans advance.
“Industry expos and their attendant opportunities to gather information and undertake professional development, play a vital role in helping businesses form connections, gather information and ideas, and plan for the future,” he says.
“This local decision, alongside similar calls made by the organisers of FESPA and DRUPA, among others, leaves a real vacuum in the opportunities for businesses to enjoy these face-to-face opportunities to learn about new innovations and talk to experts directly, at least in the near future.
“Obviously, we are all finding our way through this unprecedented situation, to try and support business and economic activity while keeping everyone safe and healthy,” he said.
“Announcements on any new initiatives, together with decisions about future events, will be made in a timely fashion, as we continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation, listen to the medical advice, and liaise with all our stakeholders.”
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