For all of 2018, Singapore’s tourism industry saw considerable activity from MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) events. 22% of the tourists that landed there came for that purpose and left $2.2 billion in tourist dollars behind in the process. That’s a huge economic component by any standard but, like every industry, Singapore’s MICE efforts were thwarted by COVID-19. Instead of being able to allow massive gatherings, it limited the maximum to just 50 people in order to try and keep the virus from taking over. With a better global understanding of how to combat the coronavirus, Singapore is now ready to try to get back to normal and is going to test allowing large events to return. Marina Bay Sands (MBS), which has always been a major component of the local MICE industry, is leading the way with one event already on the calendar.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is going to allow venues to request permission to host events of up to 250 starting on October 1. It’s part of a pilot program being organized by several government entities, including the STB and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to try to put things back the way they were. According to STB CEO Keith Tan, “The MICE sector is a strategic one for the Singapore economy, and its safe and gradual resumption will safeguard jobs and core capabilities. It will also help those in related sectors such as hospitality and aviation. Public health and safety remain our utmost priority, and we have worked closely with the industry to create strict protocols and develop new ways of organizing events. These pilot events and solutions will help Singapore lead the way as a safe, trusted and innovative destination for MICE events.”
Las Vegas Sands-owned MBS is home to the Sands Expo & Convention Centre, a facility designed specifically for MICE events. Even before the STB announcement was made, the property was taking steps to ensure that it could meet the requirements set forth in Singapore’s Safe Management Measures. This includes changing how onsite registration processes, event setups and layouts, cleaning schedules, social distancing policies and more.
With a lot of policy changes occurring, it seemed like a good time for MBS to add a few more and to continue the green efforts it has been working on for the past couple of years. Sands Expo is going to be the first carbon neutral MICE property in Singapore, launching an initiative to receive Renewable Energy Certificates and introduce measures that will completely offset all carbon emissions created by the property.
Explains MBS Executive Director of Sustainability Kevin Teng, “Being carbon neutral gives us the opportunity to raise the bar for sustainable events and demonstrate our commitment towards managing our environmental footprint effectively with our MICE partners. Together with our resource-efficient infrastructure and customizable meeting solutions, our carbon neutral MICE venue adds another dimension to our suite of sustainable event solutions. Since 2012, we have reduced our carbon footprint by 33% and we will continue to explore industry-leading methods to further decouple our carbon footprint from our business growth.”
The first MICE event at the new-and-improved Sands Expo will be held toward the end of October. That event is the Asia Clean Energy Summit 2020, which will run October 27 through 29.