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Singapore pilots safety framework at rescheduled association event

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is piloting two hybrid events, which will allow 50 delegates to attend in-person, to stress-test its new risk management framework before gradually scaling up to larger events.

Business-to-business (B2B) events such as meetings, conventions, exhibitions and trade shows have been put on hold since March this year due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The new framework will be tested on the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Computational Electromagnetics and the Asia MedTech Virtual Forum 2020. The former, initially planned for March, will now be held from August 24-26 while the Asia MedTech forum will be held on September 24.

Both events will have up to 50 delegates onsite and about 1,000 attendees participating virtually. In its new hybrid format, sessions at the IEEE conference will be streamed online for delegates to attend the conference virtually. Meanwhile, plans are underway to include hybrid elements for the Asia MedTech Virtual Forum 2020, such as virtual networking and online discussions, with some face-to-face panels and networking events.

The two events were selected as pilots because their organisers have ‘actively engaged’ event venues as well as STB to examine the safe management measures required for a safe event.

It added that if the two events run smoothly, STB may allow other similar events that can implement the required safe management measures to gradually resume.

Managers at STB said they were preparing for the ‘calibrated and safe resumption’ of business events in the coming months. The safe risk management framework was created ‘after consultation with the industry and is aligned with international best practices’.

It arises from reflections and lessons learnt over the past few months, when businesses in Singapore’s (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) MICE sector conceptualised and re-imagined what a safe event could look like.

Under this framework, event organisers must achieve five key outcomes:

  • Infection control measures for every stage of the attendee’s journey.
  • Limits on crowd density.
  • Limits on close contact between individuals.
  • Ensuring a safe and clean environment.
  • Preparing for emergencies related to COVID-19.

Besides adopting safety, hygiene and sanitisation practices, STB said local meetings industry businesses have also looked at technology to support the creation of virtual and hybrid business events.

Keith Tan, CEO, Singapore Tourism Board, said: “Singapore’s business events sector has shown much resilience during this difficult period, and we are grateful for their innovativeness and adaptability. While COVID-19 has severely disrupted the industry, I am confident that Singapore 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.”

Aloysius Arlando, President, SACEOS, said: “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 upskill. 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.”