SINGAPORE - Bigger exhibitions and conferences with up to 250 participants are set to return to Singapore.
Organisers will be able to apply to pilot such Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (Mice) events from Oct 1.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, announcing the move on Monday (Sept 7) over a virtual press conference, said that trialling events with up to 250 attendees is intended to open the doors to holding events at an even larger scale.
"We are working with overseas partners, including overseas event organisers such as Messe Berlin to see how we can learn from the experience of other countries, scaling this up from the hundreds to the thousands in a safe and sustainable manner," he said.
The increase in the maximum number of attendees from 50 currently is in line with the gradual resumption of economic activities in Singapore and comes after a successful pilot in August for an event with up to 50 delegates, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Monday.
The move also takes into account the importance of the Mice industry to Singapore as well as the strong industry interest in and demand for business events, the agency noted.
The STB said: "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."
The industry supported 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, according to a survey commissioned by the STB in 2019. Mice business travellers are also high-yield visitors who spend close to double that of leisure travellers.
The Mice and tourism industry is among sectors most severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and Monday’s announcement is part of measures being taken by the Government to reshape and build new capabilities in the sector.
Distinguishing Singapore’s Mice industry from that of other countries, Mr Chan emphasised that Singapore caters to the international market and, unlike others, cannot survive on just its domestic market.
“The way we are going to revamp the industry, we have to take into consideration how we bring international travellers into Singapore, conduct the meeting safely, and then even provide them the assurance (of safety after they depart Singapore),” he added, referring to it as an “end-to-end service”.
If Singapore is able to build this capability properly, it will be able to distinguish itself even more from other competitors in the space, Mr Chan said.
The trial proposals will be reviewed by the STB and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and organisers may proceed only upon obtaining approval from the ministry.
Organisers must demonstrate ability to implement safe management measures, which include limiting overall density of attendees and having infection control measures before and after the event.
Among the pilot events taking place under this arrangement is the Singapore International Energy Week Conference, which is scheduled to be held in a hybrid format at Marina Bay Sands from Oct 26 to 30.
In addition, the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers is collaborating with government agencies STB and Enterprise Singapore on a roadmap to provide guidelines on safety measures and best practices for business events.
This roadmap will be launched later in September.
The Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences, one of the coalitions convened by the Emerging Stronger Task Force, has worked closely with industry stakeholders and government agencies to explore and pioneer new ways to facilitate safe and innovative experiences for visitors amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the STB said.
The alliance has developed a prototype for safe trade shows and exhibitions - larger events which would not have been permitted to resume in their original format.
This prototype will be tested at a few trade shows, starting with new trade show TravelRevive in November.
The alliance also has designed safe itineraries, which could include leisure activities like small group private tours around Singapore, that will be trialled with the TravelRevive delegates.
A travel insurance product for inbound travellers to cover critical Covid-19 related expenses is also in the works and will be available by the fourth quarter of this year, the STB 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," said STB chief executive Keith Tan.
"These pilot events and solutions will help Singapore lead the way as a safe, trusted and innovative destination for Mice events."