Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what principles are adopted in assessing approval for an in-person global conference such as the World Economic Forum’s Special Annual Meeting 2021 amidst the pandemic; (b) what are the anticipated cost and revenues from the WEF Special Annual Meeting; and (c) what other factors are considered when deciding whether to hold these events here.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Culture, Community and Youth, Alvin Tan)
1. The Singapore Tourism Board launched the Safe Business Events framework in July 2020, which allows the resumption of in-person business events. Under the framework, event organisers must comply with strict public health requirements, including pre-departure and on-arrival testing, a rigorous testing regime, the mandatory wearing of masks, as well as all relevant safe management measures at the event. The Safe Business Events framework has been applied to over 29 business events since its launch, including the Singapore International Energy Week in October 2020 and TravelRevive in November 2020.
2. The World Economic Forum’s Special Annual Meeting in Singapore must similarly comply with the requirements of the Safe Business Events Framework. The Government is studying what additional measures should be put in place to enhance the safety of the event. This would include putting in place the necessary measures to ensure safe interactions between the local community and the event attendees.
3. As we are still working out the details and the logistical arrangements for the event, we are unable to share the costs and revenues at this point. So, why are we doing this? After careful consideration and in light of the current COVID-19 situation, the Forum had approached Singapore to discuss the possibility of holding its special annual meeting in Singapore. The Forum ultimately made the decision that Singapore was the best place to host the meeting. We are confident that this Meeting will have one, a positive impact on Singapore’s economy and international standing. Two, it will have a direct benefit on the companies supporting the event, including local companies. Three, it will send a strong signal of confidence in Singapore’s ability to host major international events in a safe and innovative way.
4. Hosting the Special Annual Meeting will also give Singapore an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to its programme and discussions. We welcome this opportunity and will work with the Forum to strengthen the Meeting’s focus on Asia, because of Asia’s growing economic weight and strategic importance in the global economy.
5. We will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in Singapore and around the world and put in place the necessary contingency measures to ensure the safe conduct of the event.