Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, life has become a bit more boring.
Many major events have been cancelled, leading to event spaces and convention centres like Suntec becoming eerily quiet.
But brighter days are on the horizon for Singapore’s Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry — pilot events of up to 250 attendees may be held soon.
Interested organisers will be invited to apply to hold them on 1 Oct.
In a media release on Monday (7 Sep), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said the move is in line with the safe and gradual resumption of economic activities in Singapore.
Organisers that want to hold these pilot MICE events can apply to the STB from 1 Oct.
The event will go ahead only with approval from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), STB said.
To get approval, the organisers must show that they will implement safe distancing measures to ensure health and safety of participants.
In a Facebook post on Monday (7 Sep), Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said he visited the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre with Manpower Minister Josephine Teo to take a look at the safety measures.
One of the new safety measures looked at were the installing of plexi-glass shields in exhibition booths, to avoid the transmission of potentially contaminated droplets during exchanges between exhibitors and visitors.
Another new measure is purpose-built meeting pods within the exhibition space, so exhibitors and visitors can have “longer engagements”, he said.
MTI and STB is working on a “seamless end-to-end system” to ensure that the safety of MICE visitors will be maintained, while not compromising on the pleasantness of their visit, said Mr Chan.
He wants the “smooth and seamless journey” to start from even before visitors enter Singapore, and last even after they leave.
One pilot event has already been approved, and will take place from 26 to 30 Oct.
That’s the Singapore International Energy Week Conference, which will be held at the Marina Bay Sands.
As STB collects more insights and data through these pilot events, the MICE industry can use them to improve the safety of events.
Another event, called “TravelRevive – powered by ITB Asia & STB”, will be held in November.
The new event is organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore), which also organises the ITB Asia travel trade show.
During this trade show, international delegates and businesses will gather to exchange ideas and “reimagine the future of travel”, said the STB.
At TravelRevive, a new prototype for trade shows and exhibitions will be tested out.
Thus, the event won’t be carried out in the way that it would have been before Covid-19 — it will be done in a way so as to minimise infection risk.
However, participants will still have the same degree of interaction as they would be used to during “normal” trade shows.
A pilot for an event has already been conducted, the STB said.
It was a business event organised under the STB’s Safe Business Events Framework that was announced in July.
It had up to 50 attendees, and took place successfully in Aug.
A 2nd pilot under this framework will take place in Sep, and plans are currently underway.
Since the pilot event was successful, the decision was made to accept applications for pilot events of up to 250 attendees.
That’s because it’s been acknowledged that the MICE industry is important for Singapore’s economy and job market, STB said.
The MICE industry supported more than 34,000 jobs, and added $3.8 billion in value to our economy in 2019.
That’s nearly 1% of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to MICE Economic Impact Assessment.
Business events are also in great demand, while business travellers are “high-yield visitors”, spending almost 2 times as much as leisure travellers.
Thus, resuming business events will secure Singapore’s position as a MICE hub, as well as safeguard jobs in the MICE and related industries.
STB chief executive Keith Tan said public health and safety will remain STB’s priority.
That’s why STB and the MICE industry has worked out new ways of organising events to ensure participants’ safety, adding,
These pilot events and solutions will help Singapore lead the way as a safe, trusted and innovative destination for MICE events.
While we’re looking forward to attending IT, book and food fairs again, it’s uncertain whether they’ll be approved just yet.
What seems clear is that business events like trade shows will definitely get priority, and we can expect such events to be among the pilots.
Let’s hope that these pilots will be successful so we can have a roadmap for organising shopping and entertainment events, and we can attend those by the end of the year.
Featured images adapted from Facebook.
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