JSS extension: Are event planners included?

Singapore offers another lifeline to beleaguered tourism, aviation and MICE industry, with wage support extended until March 2021.

To qualify for the Singapore government's extended JSS, event planners must have demonstrate the cancellation or loss of at least one event with at least 20% foreign attendees.
To qualify for the Singapore government's extended JSS, event planners must have demonstrate the cancellation or loss of at least one event with at least 20% foreign attendees.

SINGAPORE — In a speech delivered on 17 August, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Heng Swee Keat announced a further S$8 billion (US$5.86 billion) in support for sectors hardest hit by the pandemic – including the MICE and tourism event organisers sectors – as well as plans to position Singapore to seize growth opportunities in a post-Covid world.

Of these measures, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be extended by another seven months – although the percentage is adjusted according to the projected recovery of different sectors.

Currently, businesses in the aviation, MICE and tourism sectors are receiving the highest tier of JSS support (up to 75% of the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to each local employee), which was due to end in August. With this announcement, the support will drop to 50%, but will cover wages paid up to March 2021.

MICE venue operators will receive the extended support, but organisers will have to meet a strict set of criteria in order to qualify. This includes:

  • Business must be impacted by the deferment/cancellation/loss of sales of at least one MICE/leisure event with at least 20% foreign attendees and originally scheduled in Singapore between 1 Feb 2020 to 31 Dec 2020; and
  • Derive more than two-thirds of their revenue from MICE/leisure events with at least 20% foreign attendees (residing outside Singapore); and
  • Be classified under SSIC codes 82301, 82302 or 82303.  

The closely linked aviation sector will also receive an additional $187 million in an enhanced aviation support package up to March 2021. “This package will also support local carriers to regain our air connectivity to the world,” said DPM Heng.

The minister also revealed the source of this extra $8 billion to fight Covid-19: by relocating monies from other areas such as development expenditures that were delayed due to the pandemic.

In an email circulated to members following the announcement, SACEOS urged event professionals to "capture this window of opportunity to re-imagine, re-strategise, and re-model so that we can emerge stronger and get an equal chance in the aftermath of the crisis".

SACEOS is also working with government agencies (MTI, STB & ESG) on the Event Industry Resilience Roadmap (IRR) to help event stakeholders (planners, venues, suppliers) operationalise the government's recently announced Safe Management Measures for MICE, as well as up-skill for new hybrid event models and adopt new, flexible business models. The IRR is in its final stages of development and will be unveiled soon.

Apart from sinking massive monetary measures such as the Resilience Package earlier in March, the destination has continued ramping up efforts to keep the travel and tourism trade industry going. More recently, the Singapore Tourism Board also held a series of webinars to showcase tech solutions to help support MICE and hospitality businesses drive digital transformation.

“The digital shift has accelerated, challenging the viability of current business models and changing many jobs. New areas of growth…such as AI are emerging,” said DPM Heng, who earlier announced $8.3 billion over three years to support the Unity Budget in February.