As the number of people who have fallen ill or died from the COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, several conferences and expos have been canceled globally as a preventive measure to allay fears and concerns and the potential spread of the disease.
The health risks are financially impacting not only conferences, but also the hotel, airline and restaurant industries, resulting in billions of dollars of lost revenue and impacting local economies and employees. Conference organizers have either canceled events or postponed them indefinitely and are paying refunds for fees.
German trade magazine m+a said there have been at least 440 trade shows and exhibitions that have been either canceled or postponed in North America, Asia and Europe.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, a group of powerful oil-producing nations, is still meeting in Vienna, Austria on March 5-6. Journalists have been barred from attending.
Russell Holly, managing editor of Future Labs, a Bath, UK-based technology publisher, who was planning to go to Game Developer Conference in San Francisco and Google I/O, said he is glad these two events were canceled.
"These events are frequently high on excitement and new things, but low on respecting personal space," he said. "One person who decided they were 'well enough' to wander the hall and wedge themselves into a crowd to see a new thing would be disastrous. You have no idea who among you is immunocompromised or is already a carrier for something else."
One advantage tech companies have is the ability to operate events virtually. While Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report has not canceled its Build developer conference in May, where thousands are set to arrive to hear Microsoft's Vision for Azure, IT, IoT, and enterprise computing, it is likely the right decision, said Daniel Rubino, executive editor of Windows Central, a New York-based tech blog.
"COVID-19 is putting the brakes on many of these industry events for a good reason," he said. "It remains to be seen if Microsoft follows Google and makes Build an online-only experience, but it is looking likely. The good news is these tech companies are well-positioned to host virtual events. Whether they have the same impact, however, is questionable."
Here is a list of conferences and other events that have been canceled or delayed due to coronavirus concerns. This list will be updated periodically.
1. London Book Fair, a publishing and literary event
2. CERAWeek, a global energy conference in Houston
3. Natural Products Expo West, a natural foods expo in Anaheim, California
6. Google’s Cloud Next in San Francisco, now a digital-only event
7. Microsoft’s MVP Summit in Bellevue and Redmond, Washington, now a digital-only event
8. Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
9. Facebook’s F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, now includes “locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.”
10. The Inspired Home Show in Chicago
11. Skoll World Forum in Oxford, U.K.
12. Portland Startup Week
13. Geneva International Motor Show, Switzerland
14. Boca International Futures Industry Conference in Boca, Florida
Here is a list of events where several companies will not be attending.
1. SXSW, an Austin, Texas film, tech and music conference in March - Amazon Studios, Facebook (FB) - Get Report, Mashable, Intel, (INTC) - Get Report Twitter (TWTR) - Get Report and TikTok will not attend.
Here is a list of conferences and events that have been postponed.
1. Qualtrics, a Salt Lake City, Utah software conference, postponing X4 to early fall, X4 London and Sydney also postponed
2. Game Developer Conference in San Francisco postponed
3. Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s Kubecon conference in Amsterdam postponed