SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — On Saturday, registration opens for one of the biggest cybersecurity events of the year, the RSA Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco. But, this year, major sponsors are pulling out amid coronavirus concerns.
The conference announced on its website that Verizon is no longer participating as a gold sponsor.
IBM and AT&T also withdrew recently. They are among 14 exhibitors or sponsors that have canceled. Six of those are from China.
Still, the annual RSA Conference is ready to welcome 40,000 attendees to the city over the weekend and into next week.
“I think it’s a little bit shocking, I think it speaks to the impact that this is having globally,” said attendee Sydney Sullivan.
Mayor London Breed sent a letter to participants, assuring them that San Francisco is open for business and events will proceed as planned. She stressed that the risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus is low and the virus is not circulating in the community.
“I’ve been hearing so many things about the coronavirus and I just want to make sure I’m remaining healthy and making sure I’m taking a lot of vitamin C and elderberry and eating really well to prevent anything from happening,” said attendee Jessica Gilbert.
Locally, SF Travel says convention attendees spend an average of about $570 per day.
With major U.S. airlines suspending flights to and from China, tourism around the country is taking a hit.
“We get about three million Chinese tourists a year and they’re not coming and they spend a lot — almost $7,000 per person per trip,” said Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics.