In line with the safe and gradual resumption of economic activities in Singapore, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will start accepting applications for organizers to pilot Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) events of up to 250 attendees from 1 October 2020. STB and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) will review all MICE event proposals, and event organizers may proceed only upon obtaining MTI’s approval. There will be pilot events taking place under this arrangement, such as the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) Conference, in October 2020.
Organizers 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. 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 operationalized 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.
As more insights and data are obtained through these pilot events, STB will work with the MICE industry to adapt and adjust our protocols for safe business events.
This move to start accepting applications to pilot events of up to 250 attendees also takes into account the importance of the MICE industry as well as the strong industry interest in and demand for business 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 $3.8 billion, or nearly one percent of Singapore’s GDP. Business travelers also spend almost double that of leisure travelers, making them high-yield visitors.
The gradual resumption of business events will help maintain Singapore’s position as a leading MICE hub and retain critical capabilities while safeguarding jobs and livelihoods in the industry and other related sectors.
To guide the MICE industry in developing its agility and building 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). The roadmap will be launched later this month and provides timely guidance on safety measures and best practices in line with the gradual resumption of business events.
Resuming MICE events in partnership with the private sector
The safe resumption of MICE events requires close partnership and coordination between public and private sector stakeholders. Given the need to act quickly and decisively in order for our economy to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, the 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.
Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences
Recognizing health and safety as key imperatives, the Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences has developed a prototype for safe tradeshows and exhibitions – these are larger events that 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 far safer way which minimizes 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 organizes the annual ITB Asia travel tradeshow, will bring international delegates and businesses together to exchange ideas, bridge knowledge gaps, and reimagine the future of travel.
To prepare Singapore for the eventual resumption of leisure travel, the Alliance has also designed safe itineraries, which will be trialed with the MICE delegates of TravelRevive. These itineraries comprise a selection of leisure activities that not only comply with prevailing safe management guidelines but also provide high-quality bespoke experiences supported by ground handlers and tourist guides, who will assist with visitor movement management.
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 travelers further peace of mind, the industry is working with government agencies to develop a travel insurance product for inbound travelers 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 organizing events. These pilot events and solutions will help Singapore lead the way as a safe, trusted, and innovative destination for MICE events.”