Singapore MICE recovery needs wide-ranging support: industry players

MICE stakeholders in Singapore

To make Singapore’s Covid-19 private-public sector Industry Resilience Roadmap (IRR) recovery more robust and sustainable, key players say the focus must be on end-to-end digitalisation and establishing an approval body, big government funding and banking support to see small- and medium-size enterprises (SME) through “this challenge of a generation”.

Commenting on how Covid-19 had increased demand for digital event products, industry veteran, event technology champion and founder of miceNeurol, Kenny Goh, said such products are different and require new design and re-engineering to meet the demands of the approval authorities, attendees, presenters and sponsors.

MICE stakeholders in Singapore indicate the industry needs a lot more support to tide through this period; Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands pictured

Goh believed physical, virtual and hybrid events can all take place, but must be created digitally from start to finish and with digital accreditation of attendees being the key.

“From a business perspective, this reset is hellish for incumbents but heaven sent for those who have been championing digital-driven MICE,” he commented, adding that the monthly cost to hire one or two digital architects and engineers was around S$8,000 (US$5,757).

Goh also saw the need for an approval body to support organisers by giving in-principle approval for unique product concepts that meet the spirit of the law but not the letter of the law.

Having the approval body connected to authorities like the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Health was important, Goh opined, as it would allow innovative organisers the ability to develop and deliver events in the new normal that may require a lot of tweaks.

Meanwhile, Edward Liu, group managing director, Conference and Exhibition Management Services, said “government help is crucial” for industry recovery and new investment is needed.

He proposed a S$100 million events industry fund to bankroll key and sustainable events that will in turn help SMEs and PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) in the events ecosystem affected by Covid-19.

Liu continued: “More help should also be given to SMEs to apply for bridging loans at zero or low interest rate as Singapore banks have done well over the years. Banks here are now charging three per cent and it is not low enough. Switzerland’s rate is 0.5 per cent and it should be no more than one per cent.”

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