2,500 on-site participants expected for major trade show at Marina Bay Sands

SINGAPORE'S largest trade show since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic will welcome 2,500 on-site participants and some 5,000 online visitors, paving the way for larger business events to take place, event organiser Conference & Exhibition Management Services (CEMS) announced on Thursday.

The Architecture & Building Services (ABS) 2021, a hybrid event for the built-environment and related sectors from June 30 to July 2, will be among the first trade shows to exempt fully-vaccinated local attendees from pre-event Covid-19 testing, said Andrew Phua, executive director of exhibitions and conferences at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), at a media conference.

The event will be held at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Expo & Convention Centre.

ABS 2021 will continue to trial the hybrid-event trade show prototype developed by the relevant Alliance for Action under the Emerging Stronger Taskforce and used by previous pilot trade shows. This prototype is designed to facilitate interactivity in a setting with rigorous health and safety measures in place, without compromising the experience for exhibitors, attendees and conference delegates.

The event will be used to calibrate safety protocols and test new formats and processes in preparation for larger meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) events.

It will also implement prevailing safe-management measures that take effect on April 24; one such measure entails dividing the 2,500 on-site participants (comprising trade visitors and exhibitors) into groups of 50 individuals per zone, up from 20 per zone previously.

The exhibition hall will be divided into four zones and a maximum of 200 persons will be admitted to the hall at a time, in two-hour time slots between 10am and 6pm.

Safe-distancing ambassadors will be deployed to ensure participants maintain safe distancing and move to the next zone only at the designated times. About 800 unique visitors are expected to be admitted daily under this arrangement.

CEMS managing director Edward Liu said: "We are grateful that our company is able to collaborate closely with the Singapore Tourism Board and other agencies in establishing a safety framework of operations and measures so as to allow attendees, exhibitors and conference delegates to confidently conduct their business meetings and activities within a Covid-19-safe venue."

He added that the hybrid format brings together the advantages of both physical and online events. "The physical and on-site aspects of ABS 2021 are critical in terms of acquiring and forging business agreements, and for cementing important business decisions. At the same time, our virtual event would help our Singapore companies to globalise and to reach new markets throughout the world."

This year's edition of the long-standing trade exposition for the built-environment sector will comprise seven concurrent trade shows and 12 major conferences. The trade shows are ArchXpo 2021, International Facility Management Expo (iFaME) 2021, Lighting Asia 2021, Safety & Security Asia 2021, Fire & Disaster Asia 2021, Work Safe Asia 2021 and Design Asia 2021.

ABS 2021 is the third major trade show in a series of pilot events being used to refine safe-management measures and best practices for Mice events and leisure travel. The physical event will occupy about 11,620 square metres of gross exhibit space.

The first two trade shows were TravelRevive in Nov 2020 and Geo Connect Asia 2021 last month, which hosted about 1,000 on-site participants each, also at MBS.

Since the launch of STB's Safe Business Events framework in July 2020, about 60 events have taken place, hosting close to 9,000 attendees.

Ong Wee Min, vice-president of conventions and exhibitions, Mice, at MBS, said MBS will leverage its capabilities, skilled workforce and experience in hosting pilot hybrid events in the new environment to help CEMS pilot the trade show.

Said STB's Mr Phua: "Through pilots such as ABS 2021, Singapore is challenging the assumption that larger Mice events cannot be held safely."

STB will continue to guide and support the Mice industry in building new capabilities and reimagining Mice events so the industry can emerge stronger from the pandemic, he said.