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 Convening Leaders event was attended by about 3,000 online participants and 300 attendees at Marina Bay Sands.
It featured prominent speakers such as Australia's former prime minister Julia Gillard.
Singapore Tourism Board (STB) chief executive Keith Tan yesterday said it was the first time in the event's 64-year history that it was held outside of North America.
Mr Tan also cited the TravelRevive event held here in November last year, an international trade show which drew close to 1,000 physical local and international attendees.
TravelRevive, which took on a hybrid format, was also the biggest Mice event held here since last July.
"These successful event pilots have allowed us to learn and prepare to resume larger Mice events in the months ahead," said Mr Tan.
The events held here took on different formats such as hybrid, physical or virtual.
Mr Tan 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 framework, event organisers must achieve five key outcomes, including infection control measures before, during and after the event, as well as limit overall crowd density. The number of people in each zone cannot be more than 50 at any one time, with a 1m safe distance required between individuals at all times.
In March last year, all physical business-to-business events, including meetings, conventions, exhibitions and trade shows, were put on hold here 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 last year.
The Mice sector sprang back to life in October last year when organisers were given the go-ahead to apply 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 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.
Mr Tan also noted how Singapore's population is on track to be fully vaccinated by this year.
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."