As Covid-19 continues to redefine our world, the international tourism sector is finally seeing some promising steps towards recovery. As one of the hardest hit industries in the Covid crisis, operators in the international MICE industry are looking for new solutions to emerge stronger.
With this in mind, the IRR—a joint project by Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organizers & Suppliers (SACEOS) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG)—aims to reinforce enterprise resilience in Singapore’s MICE and Events industry.
“Organizing an event in the Covid-19 world has changed drastically,” said Edward Koh, Executive Director, STB. “The IRR outlines government-mandated Safe Management Measures (SMMs) as well as additional best practices which the industry can adopt. Equally important is the need to examine business models and the relevant skills and capabilities of the industry in order for organizations and MICE and Events professionals to emerge stronger from Covid-19. Event organizers and planners looking to host an event in Singapore in 2021 can be assured that through our collective efforts, we aim to set Singapore apart as the world’s leading destination for safe, trusted and innovative MICE events.”
The Roadmap addresses many of the current challenges and opportunities for the global MICE industry, which finds itself at a strategic crossroad in a Covid-19 world.
“To remain as the top business destination of choice in Asia, SACEOS wants to support our MICE industry players to first survive and then thrive in a Covid-19 world,” said Aloysius Arlando, President, SACEOS, “We believe that these three attributes [strategic location, track record of business events, stable political environment] continue to be important and valued by business travelers. But they will take on new meaning and will present opportunities for us to showcase how efficiency and safety can be brought into the conduct of business events in Singapore.”
A timely and salient roadmap, the IRR provides solutions across three key areas, covering a proposed new SG SafeEvent Standard, a renewed focus on hybridized business models, and fresh pathways for professional development and business reinvention – all of which, it is hoped, will help chart the path forward for MICE players, creating a strengthened, renewed, and thriving industry.
SkiftX unpacks the core sections:
SG SafeEvent Standard
A new SG SafeEvent Standard will allow organizers, suppliers and venues to resume operations by adhering to STB’s Safe Business Events (SBE) Framework. Under the framework, which was introduced in July 2020, event organizers must achieve five key outcomes. It was created in consultation with the industry and is aligned with the international best practices.
The SBE is based on three key areas: hygiene and sanitation, safe distancing, and emergency management and contact tracing. It factors in the customer journey, with easy to navigate checklists catering to each operator – pre-, during and post-event.
The new SafeEvent Standard is underpinned by an industry-led accreditation program, which will be launched soon, and encourages industry operators to implement SBE measures across all Covid operations.
Though we’re already witnessing a more digitized approach to event management, hybridization is emerging as a desirable solution for events in the future: one that fuses digital and in-person platforms to maximize the best attributes of both for organizers, speakers and attendees.
Given that live, in-person experiences can’t be immediately transferred to the digital space, the IRR focuses on how industry players can re-design their content and management protocols to meet new needs such as creating a reduced-contact environment to ensure safety and hygiene.
“In this new environment where virtual events are the norm, organizers and industry players should avoid doing a ‘digital twin’ of their event. Event experiences, content and engagement needs to be redesigned for the virtual and hybrid world. With the engagement cycle no longer limited to the in-person event, it is a time of tremendous opportunity if you succeed in rising above the noise and find meaningful and creative ways to engage audiences beyond the traditional two- or three-day event showcase,” said Arlando.
Covering five key pillars, including community building, digital engagement, learning opportunities, practical outcomes, and commerce, the IRR views the current shifts towards hybridization as a ‘step-up’ opportunity, one capable of yielding greater reach, appeal, flexibility, and more broadly, a strengthened MICE ecosystem.
Capabilities and Skills
For a resilient industry, fresh roles, rules of engagement, and market needs will be essential. This means new professional training and development modules, the need to boost new business innovations, and the need for a flourishing event community network, to share learnings and grow together.
The IRR hopes to facilitate a suite of new national and globally recognized professional development opportunities to up-skill and strengthen workforce capabilities in light of the transformed industry landscape. This would roll out via ‘resilient industry’ training and certification, internships and traineeships, and tertiary education.
It also proposes new frameworks of methodology and practical scenarios to give MICE professionals the ability to analyze risk and growth opportunities, and hopes to co-create an enhanced modern event ecosystem through shared knowledge, learned information and inclusivity by incorporating a qualified list of industry players under the three banners of commerce, community, and capability – all helping each other synergistically to evolve and transform collaboratively into the unknown future.
By seeking opportunity in crisis, embracing bold change, and unpacking the new challenges ahead, the IRR sets a pioneering standard for the industry, one that not only positions Singapore as one of the world’s most trusted, safe and innovative MICE destinations, but distils the core pillars for recovery for other cities, sectors and regions to follow in an emerging Covid world.