Unable to rely heavily on domestic demand for tourism recovery, Singapore’s collaborative approach to relaunch its MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) industry sets a prime example for Asia and destinations worldwide.

From 25 to 26 November 2020, Singapore is hosting one of the first physical trade shows in the Asia Pacific region since the Covid-19 outbreak, with close to 1,000 domestic and international attendees expected. ‘Travel Revive’ is a two-day travel trade show run by Messe Berlin (Singapore) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB), but alliances formed under the ‘Emerging Stronger Taskforce’, alongside Changi Airport Group’s ‘safe travel concierge’ have all aided this stepping stone in Singapore’s tourism recovery.

Only 176,000 domestic trips occurred across Singapore in 2019. It relies heavily on inbound tourism, with 14.5 million inbound trips recorded in 2019. 14.4% of these trips were for business travel. Attracting high-yielding business travelers will without doubt begin a much needed boost in tourism recovery, posing Singapore as a demonstrable example for safe MICE tourism during and post-Covid-19.

Investment into ‘touchless’ tech meets safety concerns

Various safety measures have been piloted for the event, supported by the Emerging Stronger Taskforce, including plexi-glass shields in exhibition booths, private meeting pods and social distancing ambassadors spread across the event space at Sands Expo & Convention Center.

Greater investment into touchless technology will have been one of the greatest facilitators for this event going forward. Starting their journey prior to arrival at Changi Airport, attendees can utilise the ‘safe travel concierge’ – an online travel tool that helps travellers manage visits by customising a travel checklist of pre-entry requirements for Singapore. On arrival at the event, visitors can check-in through automated registration kiosks and wander through QR scanners at the site to register for events, limiting the risk of close social contact.

Lessons can be learnt for the global MICE industry

GlobalData forecasts that international business arrivals will fall by -35.3% in 2020. This loss of MICE tourism will prove devastating for many major cities across the globe that usually attract high volumes of business travellers.

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With 61% of global travellers now being influenced by how ‘digitally advanced/smart a product or service is’ it is clear that Covid-19 will accelerate the digital transformation of business travel (GlobalData’s COVID-19 Recovery Consumer Survey, 4th – 8th November 2020). The same survey found that 95% of global respondents remain concerned about the global outbreak of Covid-19. The implementation of a range of touchless tech and other safety precautions at Singapore’s ‘Travel Revive’ show will help to position Singapore as a leader in the recovery of MICE tourism. If successful, its approach could be used as a pivotal example in future recovery strategies in other destinations.