June 1, 2003
Much has been said about the SARS problem, from the World Health Organization’s rather hasty recommendation to avoid Toronto, to claims of a cover up when the initial disease broke out in China.
Flash back 100 years and we’d be talking deaths in thousands, if not tens of thousands.
Yes, the medical field has evolved. For this, we should be truly thankful.
The fallout from SARS reared its ugly head recently at The Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar.
It’s impossible to determine exactly how many delegates chose to stay away, but the impact of the SARS scare was certainly evident.
It’s too bad, because the people who did attend got their money’s worth and more.
Damage to the Toronto economy is in the billions and I don’t believe we’ve felt the full impact yet.
When given a level playing field, if I was organizing a convention or trade show and thought attendance would be influenced by something such as SARS, I’d change venues in a flash.
Not because I felt the city was unsafe but because I can’t control other people’s opinions or concerns.
Staying in the same city would mean losing potential attendees for the event and that’s just bad business.
Unfortunately, people will associate Toronto with SARS for some time.
I have been impressed with the way the city has pulled together to stimulate its economy.
Cheap gas (did anyone see cheap diesel?), ball games, theater tickets and hotel rooms have helped encourage people to get out and spend some of their hard earned loonies.
I’m thinking a bored housewife or husband planted the idea with Mel.
It was a great excuse to go out and paint the town, and it worked!
I guess hotels operating at 80 per cent capacity at half price (or more) are better off then running at 30 per cent capacity at full pop. People were lined up to take advantage of the savings.
Mel didn’t call me, but after watching him on CNN, if he did, I’d tell him not to venture south of the 49th.
It’s his job to spread the word about “Toronto The Good” but his efforts are better off here, where people accept him for who he is, not for what he knows.
Summer’s around the corner and now we’re dealing with the spread of the West Nile Virus.
I SURRENDER! You can reach me at www.antarctica.com.
– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-442-2097.
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