Industry survey highlights coronavirus impact on Singapore events

Singapore’s business meetings and live events sectors have taken a significant hit from the pandemic, with companies experiencing debilitating financial losses, according to a recent survey by the #SaveEventsSG movement.

The survey of more than 170 event organisers and suppliers, conducted earlier this month, revealed that 70 per cent of event businesses in Singapore have experienced a 90 per cent drop in revenue.

#SaveEventsSG spotlights the dire situation Singapore’s event organisers and suppliers are in, and they are petitioning to obtain more government support

As a result, a series of cost-cutting measures are already taking place across the industry, including staff pay cuts of between 20 and 30 per cent (according to 68 per cent of respondents), and no-pay leave (38 per cent).

While many event professionals are eager to get back to business, the future of Singapore’s event industry remains unclear.

More than 62 per cent of respondents (107) stated they will be forced to close their doors without further government assistance to cover manpower costs.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents also expect revenue projections for 2021 to plummet by more than 90 per cent, while 30 per cent anticipate a decline of more than 75 per cent.

The #SaveEventsSG survey follows a petition, launched in April, for increased aid under the government’s Covid-19 Job Support Scheme (JSS).

See: even when circuit breaker measures are eased, Singapore’s events industry will continue to suffer

“We just want to keep the lights on,” said Lumina Live managing director, David See, a co-founder of the #SaveEventsSG campaign.

“Our industry is among the hardest hit and, even when circuit breaker measures are eased, we will continue to suffer,” he said.

The #SaveEventsSG petition has attracted more than 15,000 signatures and, together with the survey data, See says the industry’s plight continues to gain momentum.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers (SACEOS) is advocating for the broader events industry.

At a recent Extraordinary General Meeting, held virtually on May 5, the association revised its constitution to include live events professionals.

In a letter to members following the meeting, president Aloysius Arlando said the change will allow SACEOS to “explore new instruments and initiatives to enable the expanded MICE industry to grow and prosper for the future”.

Arlando added that the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG), as well as the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) are all “well-aware of the critical need to help our industry survive” and that a robust events ecosystem will be needed to kickstart Singapore’s recovery.

In addition to the #SaveEventsSG initiative, ESG recently commissioned SACEOS to conduct an industry-wide survey to assess the impact of Covid-19.

The findings of both surveys have been submitted to the government, primarily MTI and Ministry of Finance, for review of relief measures for the business and live events industry.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, STB has unveiled a series of measures to assist meeting and event professionals. This includes income relief for self-employed individuals and access to temporary bridging loans.

A recently-launched S$20 million (US$14.1 million) Marketing Partnership Programme also provides online training, marketing support, and tools for business innovation to help companies in the tourism and business events sectors plan for recovery.

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