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Singapore invites organisers to pilot events for up to 250 participants from October

Singapore is inviting applications to pilot MICE events of up to 250 attendees to begin in October.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) says the move is in line with the policy of a safe and gradual resumption of economic activities in Singapore. The STB will start accepting applications from organisers from 1 October 2020. 

STB and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) will review all event proposals, and organisers may proceed only upon obtaining MTI’s approval. Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) Conference will take place under this arrangement in October 2020.

Organisers who apply to pilot events with up to 250 attendees must demonstrate their ability to implement Safe Management Measures to meet a set of health and safety outcomes. STB promises more details will be released at a later stage.

The decision to accept applications to pilot MICE events of up to 250 attendees comes on the back of STB’s Safe Business Events Framework for business events of up to 50 attendees, which was first announced in July 2020. STB operationalised the framework with two pilots – the first concluded successfully in August 2020, while plans for the second pilot, which will take place in late September 2020, are underway. 

STB says it will adapt and adjust its protocols for safe business events as more insights and data are obtained through these pilot events.

According to a MICE Economic Impact Assessment commissioned by STB in 2019, the industry supported more than 34,000 jobs with an economic value-add of $3.8bn, or nearly one percent of Singapore’s GDP.

In another move to help build resilience post-Covid-19, the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS) is collaborating with STB and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) to formulate an Event Industry Resilience Roadmap (IRR) to be launched later this month to provide guidance on safety measures and best practices in line with the gradual resumption of business events.

STB notes the safe resumption of MICE events requires close partnership and coordination between public and private sector stakeholders. The state’s Emerging Stronger Taskforce (EST) under the Future Economy Council (FEC) has convened the Singapore Together Alliances for Action (‘Alliances’), which are industry-led, government-supported coalitions that will act quickly by prototyping ideas on key strategic areas for Singapore. The Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences is one of them. Co-led by Mr Lee Seow Hiang of Changi Airport Group and Ms Kwee Wei-Lin of Singapore Hotel Association, the Alliance has worked closely with a diverse range of industry stakeholders such as SACEOS and National Association of Travel Agents (NATAS), and government agencies such as STB and the Ministry of Health (MOH) to explore and pioneer new ways to facilitate safe and innovative visitor experiences in a Covid-19 environment.

The Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences has developed a prototype for safe tradeshows and exhibitions – these are larger events which would not have been permitted to resume in their pre-Covid-19 format. The prototype has been developed in partnership with the private sector, and will provide delegates with the degree of interaction they would be accustomed to in a regular tradeshow setting – but in a safer way which minimises infection risks.

This will be tested at a few tradeshows, starting with a new event in November called TravelRevive – powered by ITB Asia & STB. Messe Berlin (Singapore), which also organises the annual ITB Asia travel tradeshow, is set to bring international delegates and businesses together to exchange ideas, bridge knowledge gaps, and reimagine the future of travel.

In preparation for TravelRevive, the Alliance is working with relevant government agencies and industry stakeholders to deploy digital enablers to facilitate a seamless and safe visitor experience from arrival to departure. Foreign delegates of the pilot events will also be required to use TraceTogether to facilitate contact tracing. To give inbound travellers further peace of mind, the industry is working with government agencies to develop a travel insurance product for inbound travellers by Q42020, to cover critical Covid-19-related expenses.

Mr Keith Tan, chief executive, Singapore Tourism Board, said: “The MICE sector is a strategic one for the Singapore economy, and its safe and gradual resumption will safeguard jobs and core capabilities. It will also help those in related sectors such as hospitality and aviation. Public health and safety remain our utmost priority, and we have worked closely with the industry to create strict protocols and develop new ways of organising events. These pilot events and solutions will help Singapore lead the way as a safe, trusted and innovative destination for MICE events.”