SINGAPORE: An upcoming trade show at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is set to welcome 2,500 participants, making it the biggest of such large-scale business events to be held in Singapore since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Set to take place from Jun 30 to Jul 2, the Architecture and Building Services 2021 is also expecting 5,000 virtual attendees as it takes on a hybrid format, its organiser Conference & Exhibition Management Services (CEMS) announced on Thursday (Apr 8).
“The physical and on-site aspects of the show are critical in terms of acquiring and forging business agreements, and for cementing important business decisions. At the same time, our virtual event would help our Singapore companies to globalise and reach new markets throughout the world,” said CEMS managing director Edward Liu.
READ: Singapore tests distancing dongles to track mingling at meetings as it looks ahead to hosting WEF
The organiser said it plans to split the 11,620 sq m exhibition space into four zones. Each zone will have no more than 50 participants at a time in accordance with prevailing COVID-19 safety measures.
It will also implement two-hour time slots from 10am to 6pm for the admission of participants into the venue throughout the three days.
After the end of every two hours, participants will be ushered out before a new batch can enter.
Safe-distancing ambassadors will be on site to ensure these rules are kept to.
Registration and pre-event COVID-19 testing will be conducted at an adjacent exhibition hall, CEMS said.
According to the latest guidelines announced last month, pre-event testing is required for events of more than 250 people. But individuals who have completed the full vaccination regimen and have had time to develop sufficient protection from the virus will be exempted.
The Architecture and Building Services 2021 event will be “among the first few pilot trade shows with a substantially vaccinated attendee population,” said Mr Andrew Phua, executive director of exhibitions and conferences at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
“This gives us the opportunity to roll out and refine newly-developed protocols such as exempting all vaccinated local attendees from pre-event testing requirements at larger-scale events.”
Meanwhile, to provide an “additional layer of screening”, robots will be stationed at the entrances of the venue to conduct temperature scanning, said Mr Liu.
These robots, owned by local firm Concorde Security, can scan up to three people at one go and will help to reduce the manpower needed.
About 50 of these robots are already being used by various retail and food and beverage outlets, said the security firm’s executive director Alan Chua.
Asked if it will be considering technology that was trialled at previous trade shows, CEMS said it is in discussions with two local technology firms on the use of a Bluetooth-enabled dongle.
This pocket-size dongle, which tracks users’ information such as location, distance and interaction time, was deployed at GEO Connect Asia 2021, a trade show held last month at the MBS.
REVIVING MICE SECTOR
Singapore has been taking steps to revive its multi-billion dollar meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry as it gears up to host the World Economic Forum in August.
Since the announcement of STB’s safe business events framework in July last year, about 60 MICE events hosting close to 9,000 attendees have been held, said Mr Phua.
READ: Safety guidelines, tips on hybrid model part of new resilience roadmap for MICE and events sector
Notably, there were two large-scale hybrid trade shows – the TravelRevive in November last year and the more recent GEO Connect Asia 2021, which saw about 1,000 participants each.
The upcoming Architecture and Building Services 2021 will be the third of such mega business events, which Mr Liu from CEMS said are “critical steps” for his industry to embark on a recovery.
“The piloting of our show will allow STB and the industry to further calibrate safety protocols and test new formats and processes, in preparation of larger MICE events in the near future,” he added.
“Obviously we want to regain the premium position that Singapore occupies in this part of the world.”
STB’s Mr Phua said through these trade shows, “Singapore is challenging the assumption that larger MICE events cannot be held safely”.
“We are progressively resuming such events, with rigorous protocols and innovative solutions for the end-to-end visitor journey,” he added, noting that the tourism board will continue to support the sector in building new capabilities and reimagine MICE events for a post-pandemic world.
The MICE sector is a key player in Singapore’s tourism industry. Prior to the pandemic, it contributed S$3.8 billion in value-add to the economy, or nearly one per cent of gross domestic product, and supported more than 34,000 jobs.