Through COVID-19 and beyond: STB, PCMA and UFI launch white paper to reimagine the future of business events

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Report highlights key pillars and case studies to support industry transformation, with signs of strong recovery in the Asia-Pacific and a greater appetite for digital and hybrid events

Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and UFI (The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) have partnered to launch a white paper titled “Reimagining Business Events – Through COVID-19 and Beyond.

Launched at the first hybrid Singapore MICE Forum x IBTM Wired at Marina Bay Sands on 28 June 2021, the white paper is the first such collaboration between a destination and leading associations representing the exhibitions, conventions and meetings industry. It takes stock of how various sectors within the industry have transformed in response to COVID-19, and consolidates ideas from around the world to help business event organisers rethink their offerings and operations.

The business events sector supported nearly 26 million jobs and contributed US$1.5 trillion to global GDP in 2017which would rank it as the 13th largest economy globally, surpassing those of Australia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. In Singapore, the MICE sector supported more than 34,000 direct and indirect jobs, with a value-add of S$3.8 billion, or close to 1 per cent of Singapore’s GDP. COVID-19 changed all that. In 2020, the global travel and hospitality suffered a staggering loss of US$935 billion, with the business events industry among the worst hit. The onset of the pandemic was a wake-up call for the industry, heavily dependent on physical interaction, to reinvent itself. According to PCMA’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard survey (January 2021) the overall willingness to travel remains mixed, with 44 per cent of planners and 23 per cent of suppliers unwilling to travel.

However, there is cause for optimism. The same survey showed that 25 per cent of planners and 31 per cent of suppliers were willing to travel any distance necessary if the program was worth it. And for those who attended a recent physical event, 63 per cent of planners and 77 per cent of suppliers said it was worth all the additional precautions and safety measures and would do so again. More planners and suppliers are feeling hopeful – 69 per cent of planners and 64 per cent of suppliers shared this sentiment in June 2021compared to 48 per cent and 47 per cent respectively in January 2021.

The paper was launched at Singapore MICE Forum x IBTM Wired, where speakers from STB, PCMA, UFI and GEVME led a panel discussion on its key findings and exchanged views on its three innovation pillars.

The event is a partnership between IBTM – part of Reed Travel Exhibitions – and SACEOS. IBTM Wired is the newest addition to IBTM’s global portfolio of events and intelligence for the meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry and kicks off with SACEOS’ flagship industry business event – the Singapore MICE Forum, on its first day.

Link to: White Paper and Key Infographic