All Posts By

Julia Rahman

Seoul Convention Bureau: Walking Towards New Normal in the MICE Industry

By | 2020

Seoul a metropolitan city with a population of approximately 10 million people is entering a new phase of countermeasures against the COVID-19 that is: Distancing in everyday life.

Residents are expected to continuously follow the guidelines of personal hygiene routine such as washing hands, wearing facial masks and keeping a minimum of one-meter distance from others. Drive-through screening centers are still fully operational in the city as well as, walk-through ones.

Image of Seoul City by Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Seoul City is in the process of forming a hospital system with governments within the vicinity to control the number of patients overfilling hospitals in a certain area. These measures appear, to prepare the city, to defend itself in fighting smaller battles more quickly and effectively on a long-term base.

In the meantime, the Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB) has introduced safety measures to support its PLUS SEOUL program for MICE participants. Hygiene and safety in the MICE industry especially when it comes to face-to-face interaction are the fundamental elements in the program. Newly added PLUS SEOUL support options include Infection-free Zone and Reassuring Package. International conferences and exhibitions will be able to organise their events in the Infection-free Zone and, keep it sanitised for the days while hosting the event in Seoul.

The Reassuring Package provides comfort and care services from the arrival of the participants till departures beginning with international conference participants. It includes assistance services for translation and interpretation, emergency medical situations, reservation and more. Assistance will be offered in person where it is necessary while, most of the services are offered over the phone.

Seoul MICE industry is also expanding into the digital world.  Several conferences and exhibitions in the city have opened their events and welcomed participants online with many more are on its way.

We will be seeing the Seoul Convention Bureau dedicating more of its effort towards a digital MICE industry while securing safety measures on the ground.

HKCEC Welcome Events Back – First Exhibition since COVID-19 Pandemic Held Successfully with Preventive Measures

By | 2020

A three-day local consumer exhibition, the 98th Hong Kong Wedding Fair which was rescheduled from February, was held successfully at the HKCEC from May 22 to 24 attracting soon-to-weds and couples for wedding products and services.

While the private management company responsible for daily operation of the venue that is Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited stepped up preventive measures to ensure a safe, hygienic and comfortable environment for exhibitors and visitors.

“HML is all set to welcome events back to the HKCEC. Health, safety and well-being of staff members and visitors have always been our top priority,” says Monica Lee-Müller, HML’s managing director.

All arrangements complied with the requirements imposed by the local authority, and reference made to industry guidelines and best practices. At the same time, the HML team cooperated with the organiser to implement special preventive measures in event arrangements from floor plan design, queuing logistics to food and beverage provisions.

Visitors, exhibitors, contractors and HML staff members were required to wear face masks at all times and had their body temperature screened before entering the venue. Social distancing practice was implemented at busy locations of the fair ticket counters, food and beverage outlets and washrooms also where queues were expected.

Sanitation and disinfection were carried out regularly by HML staff for hygiene in the venue. Public facilities and furniture, escalator handrails, door knobs, lift panels, tables and chairs in the exhibition stands were sanitised frequently. At the end of each show day, the exhibition hall was fully disinfected.

 

 

Thailand Launches Certification Scheme to Enhance Tourism, Health and Hygiene Standards

By | 2020

Thailand’s tourism and health authorities have teamed up to launch the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) project which is a unique certification scheme aimed at preparing the Thai tourism industry for the recovery period.

According to Yuthasa Supasorn, the governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand, all establishments who applied for the standard will undergo strict inspection and assigned the SHA logo, as a mark of quality certification of the service standards of that establishment.

The logo will be issued by TAT with a validity period of two years. All the names of the accredited establishments are entered into a database. If any violations are reported, the logo will be revoked.

Ten types of business can request the SHA standard restaurants, food outlets, hotels, accommodation, convention centres, recreation and tourist attractions, tourist transport vehicle, travel agents including tour operators, health and beauty parlours, department stores, shopping centres, sports stadiums, theatres, cinemas and souvenir shops.

Names of the SHA certified establishments are available at  www.tourismthailand.org/thailandsha and through the communication channels of TAT’s domestic and overseas offices.

Sarawak Economic Action Council to Assist the State’s Economic Exit Strategy Post Covid-19

By | 2020

An economic action council will be formed in Sarawak, an eastern state in Malaysia to facilitate the government’s post Covid-19 exit economic strategy up until 2030. The council will study details of the state’s economic, social and governance sectors.

The state government has reviewed the development strategies of Sarawak under the 12th Malaysia Plan to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 to remain resilient and adapt to the new norms by promoting economic growth and development.

According to Sarawak’s chief minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, the state’s economy will be based on two core principles of: a digital economy agenda across all sectors of the state’s economy and the other on sustainable programme. He further explained that the two core principles consisted of the ten key propositions namely Data Centre and Innovation – The New Oil; Mining – The New Source of Revenue; High Productivity Commercial Agriculture and Commodity Sector; High Value Downstream Manufacturing; Re-greening Sarawak through Aggressive Industrial Forest Plantations; Beyond Leisure Tourism; Quality Social Services for the People; Renewable Energy – Fuel of the Future; and Aligning Education and Human Capital for the Future.

The state government has acknowledged that the tourism industry post Covid-19 would take a longer time to recover.  As such, the state will intensify its efforts to develop this sector through product developments and initiatives which would include diversification into other tourism products that are beyond leisure tourism.

Business Events Sarawak representing the business events sector of the state is now open for business after three months’ of movement control order in Malaysia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre Implements COVID-10 Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Practices

By | 2020

MITEC subscribes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3 promoting health and wellbeing which is extended now to the safety of it visitors through the standard operating procedures undertaken by the venue during this COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is embedded in our Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) protocols to safeguard everyone at our premise and to eliminate and minimise any environmental or significant hazards and risks,” said Gunther Beissel, chief executive officer.

The venue’s comprehensive venue’s strict standard operating procedures include: staff training;  public awareness and through multi-media displays; social distancing at public areas and event venues; QR code for e-health screening and declaration form; temperature checks; hand sanitisers; ISO 22000 advanced food safety measures; routine surface cleaning; reduced touch points; air quality control; and daily monitoring systems.

At the same time, the venue also offers face masks, gloves and other hygiene protective gear for purchase at its medical clinic.

MITEC is the only trade fair venue in Malaysia with its own in-house medical clinic including an isolation room if needed, providing the community with peace of mind and support whilst at its venue. The facility also has an ambulance stationed at the South entrance during business hours and extended hours during events.

Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavík Ready for Post-COVID-19 Era

By | 2020

The venue was temporarily closed when social distancing measures were put in place in Iceland on March 16.

Since April 5 however, there has been a steady decline in COVID-19 infections with only a handful of active cases in the country. On May 4, marked the start of substantial easing of the social distancing measures and on May 7, Harpa reopened becoming one of the first conference halls in Europe to do so during the pandemic.

When social distancing measures were put in place in Iceland on March 16, Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavík had to close temporarily. Before the outbreak, 2020 was on track to be a record year for Harpa in international events.

“It was confusing and difficult for us, as for everyone in the event industry, to see things unfold when borders started closing down,” says Svanhildur Konradsdottir, chief executive officer of Harpa. “But we certainly appreciate that most of our clients chose to postpone their events rather than canceling them. That inspired us to start right away to plan for the post-COVID-19 era.”

The chief executive officer stated that the venue is working closely with the Icelandic health authorities to enable international conference guests to be safely brought together this summer.He added, the venue have implemented processes on dividing space into sections to fulfill current regulations on group size and social distancing.  Also cleaning procedures for the whole building with attention to frequently touched objects and surfaces such as microphones, pointers, keyboards and podiums are disinfected between speakers. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are available to all guest.

Last week Reykjavik announced that from June 15, the 14-day quarantine will not be mandatory for passengers arriving at Keflavik International Airport. Instead, tourists and Icelandic residents entering the country will be given the option of being screened for the novel coronavirus.

ICCA and TCEB Announce Webinar Series to Navigate the New Norm

By | 2020

The two organisations are joining hands to present a series of educational webinars for the meetings community beginning from Tuesday, May 26.  The partnership will focus on education in response to the global COVID19 crisis with the objective to mitigate the disruption of activities.

ICCA, as the global meetings industry network, is aligning its strategic effort with TCEB to support the business community by means of continuing education and facilitating knowledge sharing. Both organisations will leverage each other’s resources to design customised webinars to meet the diverse needs within its membership, the association community and government sectors.

The ICCA-TCEB Webinar Series will consist of three webinars which will be presented at no cost. Both organisations will bring together thought leaders from across the global network to discuss broad topics on the future of conventions and behaviour change, expectations in the new business ecosystem and evolution of hybrid meetings.

Each webinar will be developed and designed to address the needs of different market segments. The first edition will focus on associations followed by the second one on intermediaries, and the third on government. The Webinar Series are scheduled on May 26,  June 2 and June 9 – running consecutively every Tuesday for three weeks in a row – are open to the global meetings community interested in the topic.

The first webinar of the series, scheduled to be held on May 26, has garnered voluntary support of experts from around the world to deliver virtual learning for associations.

TCEB Launches Hygiene Guidelines for MICE Venues after Easing of Lockdown

By | 2020

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has established under the new normal environment, five key measures on hygiene and public safety which has to be strictly adhered to.  It ranges from limiting the number of attendees (one person per two square-metre space), screening of body temperature, distancing practice within business premises in meeting rooms, elevator, restroom and canteen, establish a system to track delegate who becomes ill after visiting the premise and finally, a queuing system with the separation of waiting areas before entering the premises.

Thailand Convention Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) in collaboration with MICE stakeholder associations launch, the MICE Venue Hygiene Guidelines targeting MICE entrepreneurs to be well-prepared for the resumption of businesses under the new normal environment following, the positive sign of COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country, and the gradual easing of lockdown by the government.

The MICE Venue Hygiene Guidelines however, have three key practices covering pre-event, onsite and post-event.

Pre-event practices include preparedness of staff, transport, setting up of screening point, self-screening application or website for attendees to feedback within 24 hours before the event. This as well as,  manual on permitted number of attendees, instruction on holding large scale activities and hygiene instruction for attendees.

While the onsite practice focuses on the use of information technology to mitigate risks. This includes the arrangement of venue to reduce touch points, regular cleaning of touch points and QR code for registration and satisfaction survey to ease congestion,  room layout for better ventilation, two-meter apart seating, microphone set-up at different points and regular cleaning after use.

In the case of speakers invited from location outside the host city safety measures taken to reduce incoming risks are by arranging shuttle service for speakers or provide accommodation near the venue for the speakers.

For exhibitions, advance booking technology for visiting exhibiting booths to lower gathering crowds or virtual exhibition technology should be employed to create experiences for those waiting in the queue. Product booking or purchases can be done through online platform.

Post event practices include the employment of waste management system that can prevent infection, producing a report on event organisation for authorities concerned in accordance with the orders and announcements of the Thai government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Iceland will Open its Borders on June 15

By | 2020

The Icelandic Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir has announced that from June 15, the 14 day quarantine will not be mandatory for passengers arriving at Keflavík International Airport. Instead, tourists and Icelandic residents entering the country will be given the option of being screened for the novel coronavirus.

After being screened at the airport, arriving passengers will go to their overnight accommodations, where they await the results. In addition to that, every arriving passenger will be asked to download the COVID-19 tracing app ‘Rakning C-19’ which helps authorities trace the origin of transmissions.

Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation says: “When travellers return to Iceland we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic. Iceland’s strategy of large scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far. We want to build on that experience of creating a safe place for those who want a change of scenery after what has been a tough spring for all of us.”

The proposed border opening depends on the continued decline of cases in Iceland. At this point, only three cases of the virus have been diagnosed in May, only 15 individuals have the virus in Iceland with more than 15 percent of Iceland’s population have been tested. Authorities stated that it could also be implemented earlier than June 15 if preparations go well, and the number of cases remains low. The testing may be used toward further research of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.

Meet in Reykjavík – Reykjavík Convention Bureau: info@meetinreykjavik.is Tel: +354 527 6666