The expansion of Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme to include the UK and several other countries represents a major milestone in the recovery of the destination’s MICE sector. The corridor between the UK and Singapore allows British travellers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to visit Singapore without the need for quarantine.
Visitors can enter the destination with a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP). Requests to obtain the VTP must be made between 7 and 30 calendar days prior to travellers’ intended date of entry into Singapore and applications can be made via the SafeTravel website. All travellers must present their proof of vaccination, travel into Singapore on designated VTL flights and take PCR tests before and on arrival.
The expanded VTL scheme is a key step towards the safe resumption of large-scale international business events in Singapore, which has been leading the way on many fronts since the start of the pandemic, from event hybridisation to health and safety. Initiatives include the SG Clean quality mark, the TraceTogether app and token, and Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) Safe Business Event Framework, which has been applied to more than 160 business events hosting 30,000 participants since its launch in July 2020.
Business event pilots
The destination has also hosted several successful larger-scale pilot events including TravelRevive and Geo Connect Asia (GCA) 2021, which have implemented rigorous protocols and innovative solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of participants including touchless technology, automated registration kiosks, plexiglass shields for exhibition booths and meeting pods that prevent droplet transmissions.
Since 19 August 2021, MICE event pilots of up to 1,000 participants can now take place if all participants are fully vaccinated and are predominantly seated or standing in a fixed position during the event. If participants are fully vaccinated and are predominantly non-seated and moving about during the event, up to 500 participants are allowed.
Singapore’s high population vaccination rate has laid a strong foundation for the destination to resume progressively large-scale MICE activities with international participants as it transits to a COVID-19 resilient nation. To pave the way for the safe and calibrated resumption of larger MICE events in 2022, four pilot events have been identified to trial new innovations: the Joint Leadership Summit of event industry associations AEO, SACEOS, SISO and UFI, which took place on 5-7 October 2021; Gamescom Asia on 14-17 October 2021; Bloomberg New Economy Forum on16-19 November 2021; and Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (ITAP) on 22-24 November 2021.
The pilots are trialling protocols and innovations such as higher capacities, safe itineraries for foreign participants, digital enablers, hybrid event formats and no-zoning requirements with the necessary Safe Management Measures (SMMs) in place. These include mandatory daily pre-event testing (PET) for vaccinated participants as an added measure.
Apart from the four pilot events, other events lined up over the next quarter under STB’s Safe Business Events Framework, include Web in Travel (WiT) Experience Singapore, Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) and Alternative Ownership Conference Asia Pacific (AOCAP), Occupational Safety + Health Exhibition for Asia (OS + HA), Milken Institute Asia Summit, Singapore International Agri-Food Week (SIAW) and 7th Architecture & Building Services (ABS). More than 25,000 participants are expected to take part in these events physically and virtually across these events.
These pilots and events provide the opportunity to further fine tune safety measures and protocols, as well as testbed new innovations, setting Singapore apart as the world’s leading destination for safe, trusted and innovative business events.