Gear up in downtime

While tightening measures amid Covid-19 mean downtime for venue providers and operators, it offers the chance to gear up on offerings

The EXPO 2.0 Launch Festival marked the launch of new hardware and service offerings at the venue

At press time, the Singapore government has announced increasingly tight measures amid the progression of the pandemic, from further border controls to restrictions on gatherings within the country.

The measures meant downtime for the business events industry.

The EXPO 2.0 Launch Festival marked the launch of new hardware and service offerings at the venue

On March 20, Jung-Yul Choi, president, Lions Clubs International, announced that the Lions Clubs International Convention cannot be held in Singapore amid the stricter restrictions.
The event was meant to welcome some 20,000 foreign delegates to Singapore in June, and mark the largest association congress in Singapore’s history.

Before the government’s announcement, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers postponed its inaugural Asian Media Leaders Summit, originally scheduled for March.

As at press time, the event is still slated to be held in July.

While there was initial anticipation that 2H2020 would see a “bunching up” of events, according to Aloysius Arlando, president, Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS), who expressed this prior to the latest set of restrictions on events, venue operators now expect recovery only in 2021 and beyond.

This does, however, allow venues more time to primp up its offerings to face future demand and to send staff for training in line with the government’s stabilisation and support package for the tourism industry.

Singapore EXPO and its convention wing, MAX Atria, having just had both its hardware and service offerings upgraded in January, is one of the venues poised for recovery.

SingEx Venues, the operator of both venues, introduced modular breakout room solution FleX, which allows organisers to configure sustainable and acoustically treated spaces that are reminiscent of building blocks to suit different meeting sizes and requirements.

Also launched was ApeX, a high-tech hall with customisable audiovisual and digital elements, telescopic seating and an impressive 54m-by-5m screen for opening events and major presentations.

Besides updating its event facilities, the venue has also stepped up food and beverage offerings.

Kinetic Kitchen, its central production kitchen, is now powered with research and development capabilities and has the capacity to host more than 1,000 guests at a time.
Event organisers can host their VIPs at the new private dining room K2. Also newly-open is one77°, a bistro café that serves up fusion cuisine with Singaporean touches.

Besides being a venue provider, the SingEx Venues team has also added Xpert, its in-house event planning services branch, to its portfolio.

The venue provider exemplifies what venue operators and event organisers can do during the downtime – to gear up on offerings in the case of the former and for the latter, to study potential future venues in advance.

Should the Covid-19 pandemic come under control by 2021, the following years could prove a healthy recovery for Singapore.

Currently, the city-state is set to welcome the Asia-Pacific Life Insurance Congress and Million Dollar Round Table Conference next year.

In 2022, Singapore is already scheduled to be the first South-east Asian city to host the International Conference on Medical Imaging Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention.

Singapore is also scheduled to host the 25th World Congress of Dermatology in 2023.
The events are expected to welcome 2,000 and 15,000 delegates respectively from all over the world.

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