Coronavirus: Singapore Tourism Board to trial hybrid format at two business events

If successful, this hybrid format could pave the way for more such events to be held in Singapore. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Two business events, each with on-site attendance of up to 50 people plus virtual attendance of many others, will take place in Singapore in the next two months.

If successful, this hybrid format could pave the way for more such events to be held here, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Wednesday (July 22).

The two functions are the first business events involving physical gatherings to be held here since March, when all physical business-to-business (B2B) events, including meetings, conventions, exhibitions and trade shows, were put on hold as part of measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic in Singapore.

Such hybrid events, with a mix of face-to-face and virtual interactions, are "likely to be the norm for business events in the near future", the board said.

It also said that as Singapore resumes economic activities, "STB is preparing for the calibrated and safe resumption of B2B events in the coming months".

"To do so, STB has developed a risk management framework for business events of up to 50 attendees, based on strict safe management measures," it added.

Under the Safe Business Event Risk Management Framework, event organisers must achieve five key outcomes.

They must have infection control measures for every stage of the journey of a person attending the event, limits on crowd density, limits on close contacts between individuals, ensure a safe and clean environment and prepare for emergencies related to Covid-19.

STB said the framework was created in consultation with the industry. It is also aligned with international best practices and takes into account lessons learnt in the last few months.

It will be trialled at the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Computational Electromagnetics from Aug 24 to 26, and the Asia Pacific MedTech Virtual Forum 2020 on Sept 24.

Both events will have online discussions, which are expected to draw a total of about 1,000 people.

The Asia Pacific Medical Technology Association said the online sessions and virtual networking at its event may also be complemented by physical panel discussions and networking events.

STB said: "The two events were selected as pilots because their organisers have actively engaged event venues as well as STB to examine the safe management measures required for a safe event.

"If these two events proceed smoothly, STB may allow other similar B2B events that can implement the requisite safe management measures to resume gradually."

STB added that it is working with Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers to formulate an Industry Resilience Roadmap.

This roadmap is to give the meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) sector further guidance in planning for recovery.

It will focus on establishing standards for new event safety measures, creating agile business models with a focus on digital capabilities, and developing pathways for professional development in the world after Covid-19.

STB chief executive Keith Tan said the board wants to work with the industry to build Singapore as a top destination for "safe, trusted and innovative business events".

Praising the industry for being adaptable and resilient, he added: "I am confident that Singapore will lead the way in re-imagining what a safe and high-quality business event could look like."

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