Singapore airshow has wings clipped by virus scare – dpa international

dpa

The Gardens By The Bay are one of Singapore's main tourist attractions (Simon Roughneen)

The Gardens By The Bay: one of Singapore’s main tourist attractions (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — The Singapore Airshow, billed Asia’s biggest aviation event, started on Tuesday with attendances set to be down on previous years due to coronavirus concerns.

Citing worries about the virus, whoch has killed over a thousand people in China and has infected over 40 people in Singapore, airshow organizers said ticket numbers were being “scaled down for the well-being and safety of all visitors.”

The event will run until February 16 and will feature daredevil flying displays by fighter jets from the United States and the Chinese air force.

An airshow conference featuring speeches from sector leaders, including the head of the US Federal Aviation Administration, was cancelled due to the concerns.

Several coronavirus cases in Europe and Asia were traced back to a conference held in Singapore in January that was attended by Chinese delegates.

The Singapore Tourism Board said on Tuesday it expected visitor numbers to the city-state, site of one of the world’s busiest airports, to take a “significant hit” of up to 30 per cent due to the virus scare.

Beijing has banned the departure of tour groups in response to the outbreak, while neighbouring countries have imposed restrictions on Chinese visitors.

Visitors from China made up a fifth of Singapore’s 2019 total, with tourism accounting for almost 6 per cent of Gross domestic product (GDP).

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