SINGAPORE – While the pandemic rages on the world stage, there are vaccines in sight and every reason for optimism. Singapore is leading the trade show industry’s way back. From November 25 to 26, trade show industry leaders came together in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre to share knowledge and network in a unique hybrid event, tailored conference sessions, exhibitions and other after-hour and side events.
Powered by ITB Asia and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the first pilot hybrid trade show tested their newly developed prototype for safe business events, itineraries and digital supporters. Developed by the Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences, this prototype is designed to provide attendees and exhibitors with the level of interaction they would normally receive in a regular trade show setting — but in a far safer way to minimize the risk of infection.
“We are proud to partner with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to pave the way and set the benchmark for future hybrid events to redefine the new normal,” said Katrina Leung, Managing Director, Messe Berlin (Singapore), organizer of ITB Asia. “It is now more important than ever that we provide the opportunity for the travel industry to trial safety measures to prepare us to relaunch physical events. As we continue to move towards bringing people back together safely, we also look forward to resuming and fortifying Singapore’s position as a key hub for events and corporate travel.”
This two-day travel trade show featured virtual interactions to enable a wider global audience to connect with regional travel businesses, and also offered one-on-one buyer-seller appointments. To enable face-to-face meetings between exhibitors and buyers in a safe manner, TravelRevive provided 18-square-meter (195 square-foot) booths with 9-square-meter (97-square-foot) meeting pods, and an online diary mobile app.
The Alliance also designed safe itineraries to be tested on the MICE delegates of TravelRevive. These included leisure activities in accordance with prevalent safe management guidelines with the hope that these safe itineraries could serve as a prototype for small groups of international visitors when international travel eventually resumes.
Innovative solutions enhanced the health and safety of the experience, allowing participants to experience the event safely and seamlessly. Other TravelRevive innovations incorporated touchless technology and automated registration kiosks, as well as plexiglass shields in exhibition booths and meeting pods to reduce droplet transmissions.
Industry leaders and experts from across the travel industry met in two series of panels: the Leaders’ Panel and Keynote Panels. The topics discussed included preparation for the new MICE business model, rethinking of business travel and discussions of ways to restore travel in a safe way.
“TravelRevive is the first major international trade show to take place physically in Asia Pacific since COVID-19, and we are delighted to work with Messe Berlin to bring this landmark event to life,” said Andrew Phua, Executive Director, Exhibitions & Conferences, Singapore Tourism Board. “Their expertise in managing large-scale MICE events makes them an ideal partner as we resume physical events safely and gradually.”
TravelRevive is a direct result of STB’s September announcement on the safe and gradual resumption of MICE events, in line with the measured and regulated lifting of travel restrictions and the implementation of green lanes with various countries. The main exhibitors in attendance included Singapore Tourism Board, Sentosa Development Corporation, Capella Hotel Group, Furama Hotels International, and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC).
The event welcomed a wide array of travel trade professionals including buyers, sellers, national tourism organizations, press, thought leaders and VIPs. Accompanying the live event, TravelRevive included virtual aspects including a live telecast of conference, on-demand sessions and an online exhibitor directory.