Global summit on wellness moved from Hong Kong to Singapore

The Global Wellness Summit, scheduled to take place from Oct 15-17, will now be held at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore.
The Global Wellness Summit, scheduled to take place from Oct 15-17, will now be held at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

Organisers of an international gathering focusing on the wellness industry have moved the meeting, originally scheduled in Hong Kong, to Singapore.

The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), billed by organisers as the foremost gathering of inter-national leaders in the US$4.2 trillion (S$5.8 trillion) global wellness economy, announced its decision on Thursday.

The event, scheduled to take place from Oct 15 to 17, will now be held at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore.

In response to a query from The Straits Times, Ms Susie Ellis, chairman and chief executive officer of GWS, cited the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as the reason for the change of venue.

"As the unrest in Hong Kong increased, a decision was made to move the summit to Singapore. While we are saddened by the current situation in Hong Kong, we are excited to present the 13th annual summit in Singapore in October."

Ten weeks of confrontations between police and protesters have plunged Hong Kong into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997. More mass demonstrations are expected through the weekend.

More than 700 people have been arrested since the protests began in June, and tear gas has frequently been used by police in attempts to disperse protests across the city.

The protests had also paralysed operations at the Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world's busiest, earlier this week, forcing it to suspend check-ins, creating long delays for passengers and causing the cancellation of 1,000 flights.

"In an effort to ensure travel is as seamless as possible in and out of the Global Wellness Summit, our GWS leadership, advisory board and partners felt this shift in location was important for the collective well-being of everyone involved with the summit," Ms Ellis said in a statement. "We are working closely with event organisers and the host sponsor to ensure the event remains first-class and there is little interruption for all attendees and presenters."

Ms Ellis added that Singapore, as a storied destination and financial centre, will be an "exciting home" for the upcoming summit, and will offer delegates a unique opportunity to gain first-hand insights into the many opportunities available in Asia's wellness markets.

It is unclear if there are any other events that have moved to Singapore due to the unrest in Hong Kong.

When approached by The Straits Times, venues including Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre and Resorts World Convention Centre either did not respond by press time or declined to comment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2019, with the headline 'Global summit on wellness moved from HK to Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe