Monthly Archives

July 2021

Kind Malaysia 2021 Celebrates the Spirit of Kindness and Compassion among Malaysians

By | 2021

A three-day virtual expo will showcase the best of Malaysian kindness: from civil society programmes and corporate social responsibility initiatives; to everyday Malaysians who work towards the betterment of the community. Since 2018, Kind Malaysia has served as a platform for like-minded individuals to connect with each other and share ideas that will inspire and promote a culture of kindness.

This year’s virtual event is themed ‘Time to Be Kind’ and will run from September 7 to 9.

Programme include panels and talks, where participants get the chance to stay on the pulse of the latest in humanitarian innovations, and best current practices being employed by both civil society and the corporate sector in the country. Scheduled panel discussions for the three days are on ‘Humanity during Hard Times’ and the ‘Role of Corporate during Crisis;.

Kind Malaysia 2021 has designed a virtual experience that is aimed at encouraging dialogue among participants from the safety and convenience of their own homes. Aside from a lively online exhibition of non-profit initiatives, a virtual networking lounge is set up as a space, for participants to link up, and explore, potential opportunities for collaborations.

Marina Bay Sands Received Accolades at Singapore Tourism Awards for Community Care and Outstanding Event Venue Experience

By | 2021

This year’s awards pay tribute to businesses and individuals who, showed extraordinary resilience during the covid-19 pandemic for; its notable care, dedication towards team members, and the wider community.

A newly introduced ‘Special Award for Community Care (Business)’ went to Marina Bay Sands, in recognition of the integrated resort’s community engagement. It started a programmed ‘Sands Cares’ where additional resources such as: financial; social; and in-kind support; were extended to fund a broad range of pandemic related causes.

While for its efforts in consistently delivering outstanding experience for business events during these unprecedented times, Marina Bay Sands was honoured with the ‘Outstanding Event Venue Experience’ award.

The integrated resort launched the industry’s first Hybrid Broadcast Studio, which hosted a number of key pilot events in Singapore.  At the same time, introduced  new meeting concepts with digital solutions ranging from kiosks for checking; temperature that uses facial recognition or a QR code for quick registration, to wearable dongles that track movements throughout events, as well as interaction with attendees.

“The past 18 months, have been a trying period for everyone, but it has also demonstrated the resilience of the industry and our team members. They rallied on with a spirit of innovation and nimbleness, to adapt with the evolving covid-19 situation,” said Paul Town, chief operating officer of Marina Bay Sands.

Top:  Produce that are unused at Marina Bay Sands are donated to the Food Bank Singapore.
Bottom: About 10,000 care kits were created for local migrant worker communities and low income families supported by Singapore Red Cross.
Images are by Marina Bay Sands.

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Launched Vaccination for All Lucky Draw to Encourage Public Vaccination

By | 2021

The tempting offer of the lucky draw, valued at over USD64,000 includes a year-round unlimited dinner buffets, and dining vouchers at HKCEC’s restaurants. Participants however, must complete their vobif-19 vaccination course in Hong Kong by August 31 to be eligible to win.

“Achieving herd immunity through vaccination is vital for the revival of the international exhibition and travel industry. As an industry leader, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited, is happy to play our role in motivating the public to get vaccinated, to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and to speed up the recovery of our industry,” said the managing director, Monica Lee-Müller.

Among the preventive measures undertaken by HML for a safe and hygienic environment, is the deployment of robots to apply disinfectants, by spraying anti-virus disinfection coatings in event venues and public areas. New air handling units have been installed with UV lamps, and provide contactless payment options in food and beverage outlets at the venue.

All staff members and contractor workers involved in exhibition operations, have to present either; their negative covid-19 test results, or vaccination records before being admitted to event venues.

Left: Disinfection robots deployed at public areas of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Conversation with Christopher Lee of HotelPlanner on the Return of Weddings in Singapore and on MICE Trends

By | 2021

Recently, the government of Singapore has announced, that weddings in the city-state are now allowed. As of July 22 this year, wedding receptions are permitted with restrictions limited to 100 people, with pre-event tests required for all attendees and guests in groups of five.  These guidelines will be in effect till August 18 of this year.

Q. For safety assurance what are the covid rules and guidance for planning weddings in Singapore?

Under the latest guidelines, receptions can only be held at external venues, but not at places of worship or homes. Attendees of receptions of 100 or less depending on the capacity of the venue, and all attendees must undergo pre event testing.

While venue operators have to make sure that they have safe management measures set up, and a SG SafeEvents ambassador to ensure these measures are enforced. Guests can only be seated in groups of up to five; food and beverages are served in individual portions; and live entertainment like singing is not permitted at receptions.

Christopher Lee is the Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific at HotelPlanner.

Q. Do you feel that guests are ready to gather for such events?

I expect younger guests to be more open to attending for they are curious about “pandemic weddings” and how they are conducted, and for them, it’s a unique experience.  Older people would think twice, as the health risks of attending are higher for them. Also with the new mandate of pre-event testing for all guests at receptions, the prospect of being swabbed for the tests may be off-putting for some.

Q. Now that weddings are allowed, do you foresee a wedding boom happening in Singapore?

A wedding boom is expected to happen in Singapore late 2022. At that point, a large majority of the population will be vaccinated. Social events like receptions can begin to see a comeback, and attendees won’t have to worry so much about pre-event tests and other restrictions.

Some safety management measures will remain, like safe distancing, smaller group sizes and the wearing of masks.

Q. In terms of recovery of the MICE industry, will physical meetings, conferences and exhibitions make a come-back?

The return of physical events depends on the rollout of vaccines across the region, and the coordinated approach between governments about how to live with covid-19. Singapore has adopted a plan to live with the virus, where it aims to vaccinate its population and sustain protection via regular booster shots.  Under the plan, the city-state envisions that the virus will be treated like the common flu.

Q. The trend in meetings, conferences, and exhibitions, is to have them online, will hybrid events be the future of the MICE industry?

Hybrid events will become the norm for event organisation. It is a way for the MICE industry to make a partial comeback.  Countries which need more time to open their borders, could still participate in overseas events via virtual means.

In fact, hybrid event platforms may even become an essential part of the MICE industry. Such platforms are an additional channel to broadcast your event to a wider audience than a physical event would normally have.

Hybrid events could be more cost-effective for companies and event organisers from the flying in of guests and speakers as they had done previously, a hybrid event enables those overseas to join in real-time from where they are. 

Q. Can you elaborate on the new set of challenges in organising events?

The new set of challenges includes the amount of uncertainty for the organisers in getting attendance numbers, crowd control and having to set aside higher budgets than before.

Also with the pandemic, the cancellation or execution of an event depends on the number of cases in the host country. In Singapore, the spike in cases early this year led to the cancellation of the World Economic Forum.

Then, there is the need for guests to adhere to safe distancing and other measures, which can impact the event experience. Organisers will need to find a balance between safety and offering an enjoyable event experience for those who attend in person.

Q. What is your take on the recent openings of new hotels in the Asia Pacific region?

Hospitality players are taking this opportunity to ramp up their openings of new hotels. Taking into account that, pre-opening or soft opening periods of six months where the teams identify and solve teething issues. It then takes another three to four months for a hotel to be ready for the formal opening.

By the time markets start to recover, teething issues would be ironed out and hotels will be ready to welcome their guests

Q. Is this a sign that the hospitality industry is on the rebound?

Yes, demand is expected to return in the middle of 2022, and potentially stronger than before. This is due to pent-up demand, and strong support and efforts by the individual governments for the industry.

Q. Established hotels around the world, are struggling with occupancy can these new hotels fill their room capacity?

The industry is optimistic about occupancy rates, as the proposed supply of rooms is believed to be adequate and necessary to cater to the expected increase in demand. The new players are of mid-scale to luxury hotels, which will appeal to a variety of travellers.

Although the pandemic has slowed business, it also provided the opportunity for most hotels to review their products and services, as well as a chance to experiment with new processes and technology, such as contactless service and cleaning robots.

Sarawak is On the Way to Recovery with its Four-Phase Roadmap

By | 2021

The state, has just entered phase two of the roadmap, and anticipate entering phase three by the end of August, with the reopening of domestic travel activities. The state aims to restart tourism and business events in Sarawak by the fourth quarter of this year.

“The prospect of reopening Sarawak for tourism and business events is high. This is a timely development as the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia is implementing the Covid-19 Free Destination Programme which, would enable main tourism and business events cities to reopen once, the targeted herd immunity of 80 percent  is achieved,” said Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri.

She added that business events will be one of the Ministry’s main focuses during Malaysia’s phase three of the National Recovery Plan.

From the business events industry perspective, the development quoted Amelia Roziman, chief executive officer of Business Events Sarawak is much awaited news for business events players in the state, and is a step closer to restarting.

To date, Sarawak has achieved 70 percent of the recovery plan for business events, with updated standard operating procedures and improved incentivised packaging alongside with creative marketing and promotional materials.

It was estimated that 2,000 of Sarawak’s tourism and business events industry front liners, were fully vaccinated against covid-19 during the final phase of the Industrial covid-19 vaccination programme which began from July 15 to July 18 this year, at the Association of Churches of Sarawak in the capital city Kuching.


AIPC’s Executive Council Appoints New Board Members

By | 2021

Greg O’Dell is elected as president with Peter King the vice president and Julianne Jammer, treasurer of the International Association of Convention Centre.  The new board members will serve for the 2021 to 2023 term.

O’ Dell is the president and chief executive officer of Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for Washington, DC.  King is the chief executive officer of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Jammer is the managing director of the Swiss Tech Convention Center.

Greg O’Dell president of AIPC.

Peter King vice president of AIPC.

AIPC is the industry association for professional convention and exhibition centre managers worldwide. Founded in 1958, it has a global network of some 190 leading centres in 61 countries, with the active involvement of more than 900 management-level professionals.

Julianne Jammer is treasurer of AIPC.