On a path to recovery from the COVID-19 fallout, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will start accepting applications for organisers to pilot Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) events of up to 250 attendees (in five zones of 50 attendees each) from 1 October 2020.

However, this will exclude work-related events such as conferences, seminars, corporate retreats, Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and Extraordinary General Meetings (EGMs) targeted at an internal audience including employees.

All applications will be reviewed by STB and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), and event organisers may proceed only upon obtaining MTI’s approval. This is in line with the safe and gradual resumption of economic activities in Singapore.

Pilot events will take place under this arrangement, one of which is the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) Conference, in October 2020, as a prototype for larger tradeshows and safe visitor experiences.

Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, commented: "I am confident that the future of MICE remains bright in Singapore as we re-imagine the new models for our MICE industry.

"Through our end-to-end solutioning of a safe and seamless visitor journey experience, and by working in close partnership with industry, we can lead the way as a trusted, safe and innovative destination for MICE events over the world."

Safe management measures to comply with

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.

Example of some outcomes to be achieved include:

  1. Implementing infection control measures for pre and post event;
  2. Limiting overall density of attendees, especially in enclosed places; and
  3. Limiting opportunities and number of close contacts between individuals.

More details will be released at a later stage.

ALSO READ: Checklist on Safe Management Measures for B2B Events

The decision to pilot MICE events of up to 250 attendees comes on the back of STB’s Safe Business Events Framework introduced in July 2020 for business events of up to 50 attendees.

For this, STB operationalised 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 are gained through these pilot events, STB will work with the MICE industry to adapt and adjust 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 $3.8bn, or nearly 1% of Singapore’s GDP. Business travellers also spend almost double that of leisure travellers, making them high-yield visitors.

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."

Some of the other big initiatives that are gearing the MICE industry to resume activities include:

  1. 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, with an aim to establish best-in-class standards for new event safety measures.
  2. The Emerging Stronger Taskforce(EST) under the Future Economy Council (FEC) has convened the Singapore Together Alliances for Action, which are industry-led, government-supported coalitions that will act quickly by prototyping ideas on key strategic areas for Singapore. The EST is co-chaired by Minister for National Development, Desmond Lee, and Group CEO of PSA International, Tan Chong Meng.
  3. 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 far safer way which minimises infection risks.
  4. This will be tested at a few tradeshows, starting with a new event in November called TravelRevive – powered by ITB Asia & STB. The Alliance has also designed safe itineraries, which will be trialled 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 bespoke experiences supported by ground handlers and tourist guides, who will assist with visitor movement management.

Lead photo / Chan Chun Sing's Facebook

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