SINGAPORE - Organisers of an international gathering focusing on the wellness industry is moving the meeting, originally scheduled in Hong Kong, to Singapore.
The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), billed by organisers as the foremost gathering of international leaders in the US$4.2 trillion (S$5.83 trillion) global wellness economy, announced its decision on Thursday (Aug 15).
The event, scheduled to take place from Oct 15 to 17, will now be held at 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 have also paralysed operations at Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world's busiest, forcing the airport to suspend check-ins, creating long delays for passengers and the cancellation of 1,000 flights this week.
"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," said Ms Ellis 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 its delegates a unique opportunity to gain first-hand insights into the many opportunities available in Asia's wellness markets.
The GWS is an invitation-only international gathering that brings together industry leaders and visionaries to shape the business of wellness and the future of the industry.
Previous summits took place in the United States, Switzerland, Turkey, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria and Italy.