Digital Classifieds Lao, organizer of the Banlao.la Homes, Loans and Lifestyle Expo 2020, officially announced the postponement of the event until the end of May amid concerns about the Coronavirus outbreak.
“The current situation [the coronavirus spread] may lead to a poorly attended expo if commencing on March 13th,” said CEO of Digital Classifieds Lao, Mr. James Whitehead, In a statement this week, noting that the event had been already 95% sold, with over 5000 registered attendees.
“This is a potential danger to public health and safety with around 10,000 coming together in one venue,” he said.
As cases of confirmed virus carriers globally continue to increase, the general public is being warned to avoid large scale events where transmission is more likely – especially events with a large share of Chinese nationals.
Mrs. Chanthachone Vongsay, Vice-President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), an official partner of the event, gave an endorsement of the decision, agreeing with Digital Classifieds Lao in postponing the event in the interest of public health and safety.
“Despite the inconvenience that this delay may cause for some,” stated Chanthachone, “we believe this postponement is in the greater interest of the companies involved, and the general public planning to join the Expo.”
Mr. James Whitehead mentioned that partners such as main sponsors of the event, Coca Cola Laos, and Government partners at the LNCCI, were in agreeance that with the outbreak of the virus, large events, such as this one, may not be attended by large sections of the population out of health concerns, and much less likely to be joined by regional foreign investors.
The previous real estate expo held by Digital Classifieds in 2019 had over 2000 investors attend from China, ASEAN and around the world, along with around 3000 local Lao home investors.
The statement also mentioned the need to show unity and support for Chinese business partners in Laos suffering due to the global crisis.
“This is a particularly difficult time for clients of the expo with close connections to Chinese businesses and those businesses themselves – and this demographic also represents a sizable share of the current expo clientele and registered attendees,” said James Whitehead.
Nevertheless, giving the situation time to stabilize over the coming two months, Whitehead’s statement concludes that the event will continue as planned on May 29,30 & 31 2020.