VicenzaOro2 to ban exhibitors from SARS-affected countries

In response to the SARS crisis in Asia, the Vicenza Fair will not allow delegations from China, Hong Kong, or Singapore to exhibit during VicenzaOro2, the international gold and jewelry fair scheduled for June 7-12 in Vicenza, Italy.

Officials from the show said in a statement on their Web site that the move was made with the agreement of officials from Asian countries affected by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus.

The stands of 12 companies from China, which were scheduled to exhibit in pavilion G1, will be closed, the statement said. In addition, the planned inauguration of the Hong Kong Pavilion, which was expected to host about 75 companies from Hong Kong, will be postponed until a later date, still to be decided.

“Both exclusions were decided upon by mutual consent of both Chinese counterparts,” the statement said.

The trade delegations that were due to arrive from Hong Kong, China, and Singapore also have been canceled. In addition, the “Luxury China” exhibition organized by the Vicenza Fair in collaboration with Messe München and scheduled for Shanghai in September 2003 also has been called off.

According to the statement, individuals from SARS-affected countries will be allowed to attend the show without restrictions, since local authorities positioned at Italian airports already are carrying out the necessary health inspections.

“These decisions seemed to us to be a due and necessary act in respect of those exhibitors and trade operators who consider the Vicenza Fair a crucial reference point for their business,” Andrea Turcato, secretary general of the Vicenza Fair, said in a statement. “In addition to the initiatives already mentioned, we shall also be taking all the necessary precautions advised by local health authorities so as to safeguard the well being of visitors and staff alike.

“We hope that our pavilions shall soon be able to welcome all those exhibitors from areas that have been hit by this virus, who, it is worth noting, represent an important segment of the world’s jewelry sector,” Turcato added. “Further, thanks to the collaboration of the Public Health Department and the Vicenza Department of Prevention, represented by Dr. Emanuela Bellotto and Dr. Andrea Todescato, the fair shall continue to monitor this phenomenon, also by means of a series of update meetings that shall be held regularly until the opening of VicenzaOro2.”