Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) Two major international orchid shows scheduled to take place in Taichung and Tainan next month will be postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, following a joint decision Friday by the two cities' mayors.
In a statement, Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) said he had decided to postpone the Taiwan International Orchid Show, which had been scheduled for March 7-16, after consultations with the Taiwan Orchid Growers Association and in consideration of public health.
The show, which is held at the Taiwan Orchid Plantation in the city's Houbi District and is now in its 16th year, attracted more than 210,000 visitors last year, creating NT$11.3 billion (US$373 million) in export opportunities, Huang said.
In the statement, Huang thanked Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) for her help in planning the joint decision, which he said is intended to simplify matters for domestic and international orchid vendors who planned on attending the shows.
Huang added that he hopes the show can be rescheduled for the second half of the year.
In Taichung, meanwhile, Lu said the triennial World Orchid Conference, which was scheduled to be held in the city from March 9-18, would likewise be postponed "to a later time in 2020 after COVID-19 has subsided."
Regarding the Tainan event, Taiwan Orchid Growers Association Secretary-General Tseng Chun-pi (曾俊弼) told CNA that the exact impact on the industry is difficult to calculate, but said this is the first time the show has ever been postponed.
According to city officials in Tainan, preparations for the orchid show were more than 90 percent complete, with final arrangements being made on ticketing facilities and shuttle bus plans.
In light of the postponement, Hsieh Yao-ching (謝耀清), the head of Tainan's agriculture bureau, said the city will work to adjust its contracts with the Taiwan Orchid Grower's Association, and assist the group in seeking compensation from the Council of Agriculture.