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”. The report highlights key pillars and case studies to support industry transformation.
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 industry associations. 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.
According to the study, the business events sector supported nearly 26 million jobs and contributed US$1.5 trillion to global GDP in 2017, which 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. However, there is cause for optimism. A PCMA survey showes 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. Revenues have also started to pick up in the exhibitions sector, which is expected to grow globally by 106 per cent this year compared to 2020.
As the industry is recovering from Covid-19, the white paper highlights strong indications of growth and innovation in the Asia-Pacific. Data from the upcoming “Global Recovery Insights Report” by UFI, Explori and Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) show that exhibitions in Asia are likely to see stronger growth in participation from both visitors and exhibitors, compared to the rest of the world.
There is also a stronger appetite for digital or hybrid events from respondents in Asia – they are more than twice as likely to have participated in such events than respondents from other regions. Furthermore, the number of events they are planning to exhibit at has recovered to its pre-pandemic levels, when compared with pre-pandemic research data from 2019.
Beyond digitalisation, the white paper highlights three innovation pillars to successfully reimagine the industry: Business Models; Delegate Experience; and Talent & Capabilities.
STB, PCMA and UFI obtained perspectives from international industry practitioners who embraced and exemplified these considerations, adopted a growth mindset and piloted successful concepts. The case studies from Singapore, Australia, Italy and the United States include those from event planners and organisers, venue and tour operators, industry and trade associations and a multi-sector recovery taskforce.
The 42 pages white paper can be downloaded here (PDF).