On the occasion of the Geneva International Association Forum (GIAF) which Singapore is a partner of, Boardroom met with Carrie Kwik, Executive Director, Europe, Singapore Tourism Board, for an update on the MICE situation in Singapore.
Singapore is gradually opening its borders to international MICE visitors, correct?
Singapore is piloting quarantine-free travel lanes for vaccinated passengers from Germany and Brunei and has already opened up to visitors from Hong Kong and Macau in its first big move yet to lift border restrictions that have been in place since early in the pandemic.
In this regard, travelers from Germany and Brunei can enter Singapore from Sept. 8 without the need to have a purpose for visiting and controlled itinerary or sponsor requirements. Those destinations were chosen because COVID infections in both places are controlled at manageable levels. This definitely sends a good sign for the return of MICE events in Singapore.
This reopening comes as a relief to residents and businesses, we assume.
Of course. At the moment 81% of the population in Singapore has received its two doses of the vaccine, and we’re making sure our way of opening is both cautious and calibrated.
As far as MICE events are concerned, we have held over 100 of them since July 2020. We call them ‘test and learn’ events: it’s an ongoing process as we have to make sure we provide the safest environment possible for people to meet, network and exchange knowledge.
That’s why you set up the Safe Business Event Risk Management Framework back in 2020.
Correct. Early in July 2020, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) developed a risk management framework for business events – at the time with up to 50 attendees – as we prepared for the safe resumption of business events in the following months. STB trialled the new framework with two pilot “hybrid” events before gradually scaling up to other events and event organizers afterwards.
How do you make sure you’re still on the map of association planners?
Obviously our key assets are still there even if the logistics of travelling have become a challenge. But our meeting infrastructure is still developing, with investment and expansion plans at Marina Bay Sands or Sentosa, for instance. Our government also unveiled the Singapore Green Plan 2030 last February, a “whole-of-nation movement” to advance the national agenda on sustainable development – a topic which associations, we believe, hold close to their heart.
Additionally, we opened an office in Brussels early this year – this shows a clear commitment to the association community, since Brussels is the primary association hub in Europe.