S'pore to allow bigger Mice events with up to 250 people

Organisers can apply to pilot such events from Oct 1, in a move to revive key sector

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Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Seng announced that organisers will be able to apply to pilot such Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (Mice) events with up to 250 participants from Oct 1.
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. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Bigger exhibitions and conferences with up to 250 participants are set to return to Singapore, as the Republic seeks to revive this once-buoyant sector.

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 yesterday, said that trialling events with up to 250 attendees is intended to open the doors to holding events on 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 it comes after a successful pilot last month with up to 50 delegates, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said yesterday.

The event, the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Computational Electromagnetics, was held at Resorts World Sentosa between Aug 24 and 26.

With a premium on safety during the pandemic, the pilot event used colour-coded lanyards, implemented staggered arrival and departure timings, and put in place individual plating of meals instead of buffets, The Straits Times understands.

The Mice industry has been a key driver of Singapore's growth, and there is a strong industry interest in and demand for business events, STB noted.

It 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 STB last year.

Mice business travellers are also high-yield visitors who spend close to double that of leisure travellers.

Distinguishing between Singapore's Mice industry and 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".

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.

Further details on the application process for event organisers and safe management measures that they need to implement will be released at a later stage.

Among the pilot events taking place under the expanded attendee capacity 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 road map to provide guidelines on safety measures and best practices for business events. This road map will be launched later this month.

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, STB said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2020, with the headline S'pore to allow bigger Mice events with up to 250 people. Subscribe