Singapore to allow larger events

Planners can apply to hold events for up to 250 people from October 1. Move seen as vital to city state’s economy. Contact tracing and Covid-19 insurance made available

SINGAPORE will allow business events for up to 250 people – up from the current maximum of 50 – as the city state’s gradual reopening policy continues.

Event organisers can apply for approval to host events from October 1, with proposals reviewed by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and government officials.

Organisers must show they can implement safe social distancing along with infection-control measures before and after the event.

The decision to accept applications to pilot MICE events of up to 250 attendees comes on the back of STB’s Safe Business Events Framework for business events of up to 50 attendees, which was first announced in July 2020.

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Government ministers told a virtual press conference yesterday that the measure would help larger events to take place once safety measures proved successful.

Singapore-based organiser Daniel Chua, chef executive of Aonia, told MIX: “This is most definitely a positive development, representing greater understanding in maintaining attendee health through more professional and responsible events management.

“This is an opportune time to implement more events best practices as well because we’re gearing up for a renewed future for the events industry.”

According to a MICE Economic Impact Assessment commissioned by STB in 2019, the industry supported more than 34,000 jobs with an economic value-add of S$3.8 billion, or nearly one per cent of Singapore’s GDP. Business travellers also spend almost double that of leisure travellers, making them high-yield visitors.

STB says the gradual resumption of business events will help maintain Singapore’s position as a leading MICE destination while safeguarding jobs and livelihoods in the industry and related sectors.

Keith Tan, chief executive of Singapore Tourism Board, said: “The MICE sector is a strategic one for the Singapore economy, and its safe and gradual resumption will safeguard jobs and core capabilities.

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“It will also help those in related sectors such as hospitality and aviation. Public health and safety remain our utmost priority, and we have worked closely with the industry to create strict protocols and develop new ways of organising events,” he said.

Two pilot events using hybrid-conference formats are being assessed by STB with the first having taken place in August with 50 delegates. The second, Singapore International Energy Week Conference, is due to take place at Marina Bay Sands, October 26-30.

“These pilot events and solutions will help Singapore lead the way as a safe, trusted and innovative destination for MICE events,” Tan said.

SACEOS (Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers) is working with STB and Enterprise Singapore on a roadmap to provide guidelines on safety measures and best practices for business events.

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As more insights and data are obtained through these pilot events, an STB spokesman says it will work with business events stakeholders to adapt and adjust protocols for safe events through Singapore’s Emerging Stronger Taskforce.

STB says a travel insurance scheme for inbound travellers to cover any Covid-19 expenses will be ready within the next two months. Foreign delegates at the pilot events will also be required to use a contact-tracing scheme called TraceTogether.

The Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences, formed by local  travel-industry leaders, has designed a set of safe itineraries that include small group private tours around Singapore on a trial basis.

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