Event companies in Penang feeling the strain of Covid-19

GEORGE TOWN: The global impact of the Covid-19 outbreak continues to ruin businesses, including those in the event management field, with some companies claiming thousands of ringgit in losses.

The Penang Chinese Girls’ School centennial celebration, which more than 10,000 students and alumni from all over the world were supposed to attend, was called off in the wake of the outbreak.

The school’s board of directors in a statement said the three-day celebration, which had been scheduled to start on March 6, was postponed indefinitely for the safety of the would-be attendees as Covid-19 had not been contained.

Awesome Creative Events chief executive officer Adrian Yeoh said his company suffered losses of about RM50,000 between February and March.

“We are affected as several annual dinners, corporate launches and grand openings were postponed or cancelled.

“Despite that, we are not reducing salaries or laying off our staff as we expect business to bounce back in April,” he said.

Event director Shaun Kam said his company faced RM60,000 in losses this month due to the postponement and cancellation of several team-building programmes.

“My company conducts corporate team-building programmes for participants from Malaysia and abroad and just this month alone, we have had three cancellations.

“We also found out that some other companies, which we had given quotations and proposals, have yet to decide whether to put their events on hold or to cancel.

“As for some of the team-building events we managed to conduct, a number of participants dropped out of the programme or just did not turn up,” he said.

Kam added that his company provided participants with hand sanitisers and masks during the events.

Leon Chan, 24, a sales executive who supplies designer furniture to event management companies and shopping malls, said his orders were also affected by the virus outbreak.

“Some promotional events at shopping malls and banks got cancelled, especially after Chinese New Year, so our orders dropped quite badly.

“Many of the unconfirmed orders got cancelled or postponed recently too. There are still some ongoing small events though,” he said.

TLM Event managing director Jack Wong said the virus scare had definitely affected businesses in the event organising industry.

“The turnout rate of our outdoor events this month was poor as people opted to stay indoors.

“We will be having a food and baby fair in Penang and Melaka in March and April, but some of our exhibitors decided to pull out as their supplies were insufficient, while some were worried that there would be a poor turnout.

“We had to cancel our food expo in Melaka,” he added.

Another event which also fell by the wayside was the inaugural Experience Penang Coastal Run 2020 scheduled for March 15.

Penang tourism development, arts, culture and heritage committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said many foreigners had registered for the event, but the state received many requests for it to be postponed.

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