Through Covid-19 & Beyond: Reimagining business events

Singapore Tourism Board launches white paper on business meets
/ New Delhi
Through Covid-19 & Beyond: Reimagining business events

In 2020, global travel and hospitality suffered a staggering loss of USD 935 billion, with the business events industry among the worst hit

As the coronavirus pandemic subsides in parts of the world and a few business events recommence in the physical format as well, Singapore Tourism Board publishes a white paper along with industry partners.
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Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and UFI,  global association of exhibition industry, come together to launch a white paper on the future of business events.

Launched at the first hybrid Singapore MICE Forum x IBTM Wired event at Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore, the white paper is the first such collaboration between a destination and associations representing the exhibitions, conventions and meetings industry. It takes stock of how various sectors within the industry have transformed in response to Covid-19 and brings ideas from around the world to help business event organisers rethink their offerings and operations.

Impact of Covid-19

The white paper goes on to say that business events sector contributed USD 1.5 trillion to global economy and employed nearly 26 million people in 2017. It would rank it as the 13th largest economy globally, surpassing those of Australia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. In Singapore, the MICE sector supported more than 34,000 direct and indirect jobs, with a value-add of SGD 3.8 billion, or close to 1 pc of Singapore’s GDP.

Covid-19 changed all that, it says. In 2020, the global travel and hospitality suffered a staggering loss of USD 935 billion, with the business events industry among the worst hit. The onset of the pandemic was a wake-up call for the industry, heavily dependent on physical interaction, to reinvent itself. According to PCMA’s Covid-19 Recovery Dashboard survey in January 2021, the overall willingness to travel remains mixed, with 44 pc of planners and 23 pc of suppliers unwilling to travel.

However, there is cause for optimism. The same survey showed that 25 pc of planners and 31 pc of suppliers were willing to travel any distance necessary if the programme was worth it. And for those who attended a recent physical event, 63 pc of planners and 77 pc of suppliers said it was worth all the additional precautions and safety measures and would do so again. The white paper highlights strong indication of growth and innovation in the Asia-Pacific after recovering from covid-19.

Data shows that exhibitions in Asia are likely to see stronger growth in participation from both visitors and exhibitors, compared to the rest of the world. Still expecting to get normal, both the visitors and exhibitors.

“The pandemic has emphasised the need to innovate and be nimble in the business events sector. This journey of transformation is not a sprint, but a marathon that extends beyond the pandemic. As Singapore gradually scales up our capacity for larger business events, we hope that resources such as this white paper will continue to guide our local MICE industry to build new capabilities and reimagine the future of business events.” says Keith Tan, chief executive, Singapore Tourism Board.

Sherrif Karamat, Certified Association Executive, president and CEO, PCMA, says, “Our success in emerging from the pandemic is dependent on our ability to solve the transformational challenges of our audiences. The pandemic forced us to look at how we deliver on what our audiences need and what they want to be successful for the future. While the pandemic has changed the way our audiences engage with business events, it has not altered their desired outcomes from these events.”

The white paper says that the three innovation pillars to the reimagine the industry are business models, delegate experience and talent and capabilities.

International industry obtained these perceptions considering it as growth mindset and piloted successful concepts for those event planners and organisers, venue and tour operators, industry and trade associations and a multi-sector recovery taskforce from Singapore, Australia, Italy and United States, says a press release.

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