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Spotlight: how Singapore is reimagining the future of events

We caught up with Jason Chan, area director Northern & Western Europe, Singapore Tourism Board, to find out how Singapore is reimagining the future of meetings and events…

Why do you think Singapore is such a popular destination for business events and meetings?
Singapore is located in the heart of South East Asia and is very well-connected to the rest of the world. Known for its accessibility, Singapore’s award winning Changi Airport is serviced by more than 120 airlines which fly to almost 420 cities in 100 countries. There are few visa requirements and with English one of its national languages, communicating is easy.

Our event venues can accommodate all types of groups and all sizes, and our hotel capacity is 70,000 rooms with 420 hotels, all categories ranging from the international hotel chain to smaller boutique hotels.

Beyond the wide diversity of landscapes and experiences, Singapore also offers many possibilities in terms of activities: from sport to cultural, culinary, and artistic activities there is something for everyone in Singapore, a place where passion is made possible.
The majority of activities and attractions are very well suited to accommodate groups regardless of size.

Can you tell us about some of the latest and forthcoming developments in Singapore?
Singapore’s businesses, in close consultation with the Singapore Government, are adhering to rigorous standards of safe management and hygiene. Many are being certified under SG Clean, a mark of excellence for tourism businesses that adhere to heightened standards of cleanliness and sanitisation. As of 18 September 2020, more than 22,000 individual premises have been certified islandwide.

Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS), with the support of Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) have also developed an Event Industry Resilience Roadmap (IRR), which will help the local events industry establish best-in-class standards for event safety and hygiene, and adopt agile business models with a focus on the hybridisation of events.

This month, applications to pilot MICE events of up to 250 attendees have begun. Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) will review all MICE event proposals, and event organisers may proceed only upon obtaining MTI’s approval. There will be pilot events taking place under this arrangement, such as the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) Conference. Organisers who apply to pilot events with up to 250 attendees must demonstrate their ability to implement Safe Management Measures to meet a set of health and safety outcomes.

Looking ahead, 2021 will also see the opening of a new hotel that will be a showcase of environmental sustainability in Singapore. Pan Pacific Orchard is the group’s first zero-waste hotel with four levels of soaring gardens that will redefine vertical sky-rise typology. The hotel, located along Singapore’s famed Orchard Road, will feature 350 eco-friendly rooms, a rainwater harvesting system, a recyclable water system, and a compactor that turns food waste into compost – which will then be channelled into fertiliser for its sky gardens.

Another exciting development is the addition of a fourth tower to the iconic hotel, Marina Bay Sands – it currently features three 57-storey towers with sloped glass facades. The new stand-alone tower will contain more hotel rooms and will also have a state-of-the-art 15,000-seat arena to stage major concerts.

Two new parks will join Mandai Nature Reserve in 2022: Mandai is a nature precinct famously known for being home to some of Singapore’s most popular attractions: Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari. Mandai is currently being transformed to become Singapore’s integrated wildlife and nature precinct.

Does Singapore have any sector specialisms?
Singapore has specific interests including aerospace and logistics, advanced manufacturing, applied health sciences, design, financial services, innovation, and media and digital content.

Furthermore, it is a regional centre for technological research, underpinned by a vibrant business environment, world-class infrastructure and industry-ready talent and is poised to become the world’s first Smart Nation. Singapore readily connects innovators, investors and entrepreneurs from Asia and beyond through a slate of compelling thought leadership events.

What is the one unmissable thing those visiting Singapore should do?
As a nation that is home to a wide range of cultures, ethnicities and religions, Singapore’s diversity is our strength. Therefore, your visit to Singapore will be filled with an ethnic tapestry from our food to arts, and nature to architecture. These elements blend seamlessly together to create an unexpected symphony.

From old-school buildings alongside modern architecture to street food served up next to Michelin starred restaurants, and nature intertwined with a visionary future city, I hope that Singapore leaves a lasting impression on all who visit.

What are you hoping to achieve through The Meetings Show this year?
I think firstly, we would like to impart that public health and safety remain our utmost priority, and we have worked closely with the industry, in Singapore, to create strict protocols and develop new ways of organising events. These events and solutions will help Singapore lead the way as the region’s leading destination for safe, trusted and innovative business events.

We also wish to share updates on the Safe Business Events Framework and our Safe Management Measures; and to seek feedback on how Singapore can help business as we welcome them back in a cautious and calibrated manner.