SINGAPORE - A business meeting by an American organisation was conducted in Singapore in January, one of close to 50 events which the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (Mice) sector has held since a framework to safely host such meetings here was announced in July last year.
The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Convening Leaders event was attended by 3,000 online and 300 participants at Marina Bay Sands (Singapore).
It featured prominent speakers including former prime minister of Australia Julia Gillard.
Singapore Tourism Board (STB) chief executive Keith Tan on Wednesday (March 3) said it was the first time in PCMA's 64-year history that the event was held outside of North America.
Mr Tan also cited the TravelRevive event held here in November last year, an international tradeshow which drew close to 1,000 attendees.
"These successful event pilots have allowed us to learn and prepare to resume larger Mice events in the months ahead," said Mr Tan.
He was speaking at the opening of the inaugural SingapoReimagine Mice Virtual Show, a two-day virtual trade show to catalyse the industry's recovery and generate business opportunities for industry players.
Under the Safe Business Event Risk Management Framework, event organisers must achieve five key outcomes, including infection control measures for every stage of an attendee's journey, as well as limits on crowd density.
The number of people in each zone cannot be more than 50 people at any one time, with one-metre safe distance required between individuals at all times.
In March last year, all physical business-to-business events, including Mice events, were put on hold in Singapore as part of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
But the impact of the pandemic took hold even before that, with several hundred Mice events postponed or cancelled when Singapore raised its disease outbreak response to orange in February.
The Mice sector sprang back to life in October last year when organisers were given the go-ahead to pilot events with up to 250 attendees, from a previous limit of up to 50 attendees.
By November, at least 20 pilot events had been approved.
Mr Tan said STB launched the framework at a very early stage of Singapore's reopening, as the Mice sector is a "critical enabler of the Singapore economy".
According to a survey commissioned by the STB in 2019, the Mice industry supports more than 34,000 jobs with an economic value-add of $3.8 billion, or nearly 1 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP).
Mr Tan also noted how Singapore's vaccination programme will pave the way for more relaxation of Covid-19 safety measures.
He said: "These signs give me optimism about the future of the Mice business.
"While virtual and digital tools will replace some of our more mundane interactions, nothing beats the energy and excitement that comes from fruitful face-to-face meetings."