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Small, Steady Steps Towards Resuming International Meetings

In Singapore, detailed plans are underway for hosting bigger events with overseas attendees.

In early September, the Singapore Tourist Board announced that it is taking applications from companies and associations who wish to hold business meetings of up to 250 people in Singapore as of October 1. In conjunction with the city-state’s Ministry of Trade and Tourism, STB has already given the go-ahead for Singapore International Energy Week sessions in October, and hopes to draw other events to ensure that the staggered resumption of group business proves that health-safety protocols can be maintained, which would allow Singapore to lift its 250-attendee cap.

A top meetings destination in Southeast Asia, Singapore began allowing meetings of up to 50 people in July, provided that a group can demonstrate its ability to implement STB’s Safe Business Events Framework within its operating procedures. Groups of up to 250 attendees who wish to meet in Singapore after October 1 must do the same.

Further, an industry-led, government-supported coalition is prototyping other ideas on how to move forward with business events. The Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences, led by Lee Seow Hiang of Changi Airport Group and Kwee Wei-Lin of Singapore Hotel Association, has developed a prototype for safe trade shows and exhibitions that provides delegates the same degree of interaction they were accustomed to in pre-pandemic trade-show settings, but in a way that minimizes infection risks. 

The prototype will first be tested at a new event set for November: TravelRevive – powered by ITB Asia & STB. Messe Berlin (Singapore), which also organizes the annual ITB Asia travel trade show, will bring international delegates and businesses together at this new event to exchange ideas and reimagine the future of travel. The Alliance has also designed “safe itineraries” that will be used with TravelRevive delegates. The itineraries provide managed leisure experiences that comply with safety guidelines, with the guides assisting with safe visitor movement and transfers.

Foreign delegates of all Singapore events will also be required to use TraceTogether to facilitate contact tracing. Lastly, the local hospitality industry is working with government agencies to develop a travel-insurance product for inbound travelers by November 2020 to cover critical COVID-19-related expenses.

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