Tobacco Asia

Volume 18, Number 2

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10 tobaccoasia ©2014 October Multimedia Inc. TOBACCO ASIA is published five times annually in February, May, July, September and November by October Multimedia Co. Ltd. Production and distribution of TOBACCO ASIA is overseen by October Inter Co. Ltd., Vanit Bldg. 2, Room 1403A, 1126/2 New Petchburi Rd., Bangkok 10400 THAILAND. Tel +66 22 55 66 25, Fax +66 26 55 22 11. E-mail: web: From the Publisher EDITORIAL MASTHEAD Publisher Glenn Anthony John Associate Editor Andrey Medvedev Features Writers Allen Liao Howard Richardson Thomas Schmid Zhao Rongguo Art Director Somjet Thitasomboon Translations Tran Tan Kiet Liao Tian Liang Nanthalee Rattanayong Administration Office Manager Sayaporn Wattanaking Editorial/Circulation Offices Tobacco Asia c/o October Inter Co. Ltd. Vanit Building 2, Room 1403A 1126/2 New Petchburi Rd. Bangkok 10400 THAILAND Tel (Thailand) +66 2255 6625 Fax (Thailand) +66 2655 2211 The Challenges of Tobacco Exhibitions in Asia Looking back, the ProTobEx and Inter-tabac Asia (PTE/ITA) exhibitions that were scheduled for Feb. 27-28, 2014 in Bali, Indonesia faced an industry in an environment of uncertainty regarding tobacco exhibitions in general. Shortly after announcing the event in 2013, there were a flurry of other tobacco exhibitions cancelled globally – Moscow, Macau, Istanbul and a subsequent tobacco exhibition by another group also to have been held in Bali (then rescheduled for Jakarta and now rescheduled for Singapore). PTE/ITA's conference program – a new addition in 2014 – was solidified by the end of 2013, and going into the final stretch at the new year pre-registrations for visitors were twice that of the previous shows. PTE/ITA 2014 was looking to be a modest sized – 60 exhibitors – yet meaningful, fruitful business event for all participants. A challenge came about one month before with local Indonesia news reports planted by anti-tobacco activities quoting the government of Bali and/or the governor himself as being opposed to the exhibitions. One false anti-tobacco report said the governor "cancelled" the event. Over many sleepless nights, consultations with lawyers, experts, the hall, and plane trips back and forth, and lots of stresss (the extra "s" is for extra "stress"), we were assured by authorities that the shows had all the permits required to move forward including the Balinese police permit, the central government police permit, and the central government Ministry of Trade permit. And again we were assured that the last two of these were actually unnecessary, …that they were "icing on the cake" as far as permits to hold exhibitions went. Now as long as there wasn't a volcano, we were good to go… But then, on Friday Feb 21, only 4 days before we were to start occupying the hall and on the eve of the weekend when everyone was to start their travels to Bali, we received a letter via the exhibition hall management from the Balinese police telling us to cancel or postpone the event. A scheduled meeting with the chief of police that Friday was cancelled after we waited in his office for three hours from afternoon to early evening. Another "possible" meet- ing was scheduled for late the next day…or maybe Sunday...or maybe… never. With no time left, we took the decision to cancel the exhibition informing delegates and exhibitors not to travel to Indonesia. Due to government interference, we would be unable to occupy the hall; without the Balinese police permit, the exhibition hall was unable to host the event any longer. As "tobacco" exhibitions require about 10 times more scrutiny, vetting out and permissions than do all other types of exhibitions, we are unable to reschedule the events elsewhere. All exhibitors have been contacted with options going forward. This extraordinary move of cancelling the event only days before was done to avoid an even greater problem of a lack of security for everyone involved without the Bali police sup- port, if in fact the doors to the hall weren't shuttered. It goes without saying that this turn of events was most regrettable, but in the end, it was unavoidable, and done in the best interest of all participants. Overall, we put 200% into building these exhibitions and we had great hopes and aspira- tions for their success. In the end, this was a humbling experience and we sincerely thank all those companies and individuals that supported us throughout this entire process. Hongta Group specialists and farmers in Yunnan province exploring the high quality organic tobacco leaf plantation.

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