. Singapore names pilot events to test risk management framework | Meetings & Conventions Asia

Singapore names pilot events to test risk management framework

Government urges event planners to rethink MICE model and experiment with hybrid format, while warning against further job losses in the tourism and hospitality sector.

With meetings and events in the Lion City on hold since March, planners are eager to resume operations.
With meetings and events in the Lion City on hold since March, planners are eager to resume operations.

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has developed a risk management framework for business events of up to 50 attendees, which will be piloted at two hybrid events set to take place in August and September.

Under the Safe Business Event Risk Management Framework, event planners must achieve five key outcomes:
1. Infection control measures for every stage of an event attendee’s journey (pre- to post- event)
2. Limits on crowd density
3. Limits on close contacts between individuals
4. Ensuring a safe and clean environment
5. Preparing for emergencies relating to COVID-19

With meetings and events on hold since March, planners are eager to resume operations and have welcomed the framework. However, without a firm restart date, frustration is lingering, and some business owners are concerned that they may not be able to hold on for much longer.

Speaking to M&C Asia, one event production company said that, compared to neighbouring countries like Thailand and Malaysia, Singapore is "acting very slowly".

STB's Safe Business Event Risk Management Framework mandates no more than 50 'live' attendees, with sub-groups of no more than 20 pax.
STB's Safe Business Event Risk Management Framework mandates no more than 50 'live' attendees, with sub-groups of no more than 20 pax.

Nevertheless, the Singapore government insists that a calibrated approach is necessary. During a webinar last week, Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, cautioned tourism and MICE players to be realistic about a mass market recovery, saying "we must be psychologically prepared" to deal with a volatile global environment that includes recurring waves of infections.

STB CEO, Keith Tan, said the organisation is looking to redesign jobs and strengthen capabilities so that the industry can survive this "existential crisis".

"More job losses are inevitable and existing support measures will eventually tapper off, but STB will look to support in other ways," he said, encouraging stakeholders to experiment with technology to create personalised, digital experiences.

With a reference to changes in consumer behaviour and business needs, both Tan and Minister Chan advised industry stakeholders to 'rethink and reinvent' the MICE model — with a focus on virtual and hybrid meetings.

A proposed hybrid model will be trialled at the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Computational Electromagnetics (24 to 26 August 2020) and the Asia Pacific MedTech Virtual Forum 2020 (24 September 2020). Each event will feature a maximum of 50 onsite attendees, in addition to approximately 1,000 attendees participating virtually across both events.

Held in Southeast Asia for the first time, the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Computational Electromagnetics was initially planned for March 2020, but was postponed due to COVID-19 developments. In its new hybrid format, sessions will be streamed online for delegates to attend the conference virtually.

Professor Shen Zhongxiang, General Co-Chair of the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Computational Electromagnetics, said: “We chose to continue with our conference in Singapore because of the country’s strong track record in delivering quality business events. We have complete trust that the Singapore authorities and our venue partner have stringent measures to help us deliver a safe event for our participants.”

Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific MedTech Virtual Forum will see delegates take part in virtual networking and online discussions, which may be complemented by physical panel discussions and networking events.

If these two events proceed smoothly, STB may allow other similar B2B events to resume gradually.

Industry Resilience Roadmap

To provide further guidance for MICE businesses, STB and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) are collaborating with the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS) to formulate an Industry Resilience Roadmap (IRR) to help event planners create more agile business models and implement new digital capabilities into their businesses.

STB's Tan said he is confident that Singapore's MICE industry will "lead the way in reimagining what a safe and high-quality business event could look like. Together with our industry, we want to set Singapore apart as the world’s leading destination for safe, trusted and innovative business events".

SACEOS president, Aloysius Arlando, added: “Right now, our industry is at a strategic crossroads, and I am heartened that many of our members and industry players have leveraged this crisis as an opportunity to innovate and up-skill. We are taking a whole-of- industry approach to establishing safe operating standards and resilient businesses. Together with STB and industry, we have marshalled our collective wisdom and strength to formulate the IRR and ensure Singapore can continue to be competitive; a global Asia node in a COVID- 19-safe world."

For more information, and to access STB's Safe Management Measures Checklist visit: https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/home-pages/advisory-for-MICE.html