by Patricia Wee | February 04, 2020
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Singapore: mobilising the MICE industry to emerge stronger

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS) have rallied members to promote an integrated response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Immediate areas of concerns raised by members during the industry session included how to procure medical supplies and essentials, and requesting for a central procurement facility for bulk purchase of surgical masks, thermometers, hand sanitisers and thermal scanners.

Members also asked for a business continuity guide to help them understand their current business gaps and were given the Guide on Business Continuity Planning for Wuhan Coronavirus, developed by Enterprise Singapore.

Singapore Tourism Board's executive director, Conventions, Meetings and Incentive Travel, Mr Edward Koh, is confident the country's strong fundamentals for long-term growth will enable it to emerge swiftly from this rough patch.

"Singapore has maintained a strong reputation as a preferred destination for business events. We have a vibrant business culture, stable political environment and strong track record in delivering high-quality events," he said.

He added that small-medium enterprises are expected to be hardest hit and SACEOS is in discussion with the authorities for targeted MICE assistance packages for both the management of the situation as well as a recovery situation. In 2019, Chinese tourists accounted for around 20 per cent of Singapore's total international visitor arrivals, with about 3.6 million visitors to Singapore.

On the contract and legal front, members wanted legal advice to review, strengthen their terms and conditions to best deal with events of cancellation or postponements. Members were encouraged to review and have suitable data management practices to support contact tracing by the health authorities should the need arise.

SACEOS president, Mr Aloysius Arlando, who is also is the chief executive officer of SingEx Holdings, said: "SACEOS availed our legal officers to provide members the legal consultancy, which were much appreciated by our SMEs. Through the industry session, and the information SACEOS disseminated, members were well-appraised, empowered and will be better prepared to take the measures necessary to face this episode with greater confidence.

"Singapore has learned very hard but incredibly useful lessons from SARS in 2003. Since then, many hotels, venues, attractions and event organisers have developed protocols and processes to deal with contingency scenarios such as the spread of an infectious disease. These protocols have stood us well during this period."