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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Chasing MICE in Singapore

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As COVID-19 vaccinations continue, one question is when travel will pick up further—including in-person business and professional conferences. It’s an issue that’s getting attention in the Asia Pacific.

A conference on China’s Hainan Island drew crowds this year, but smaller than usual.

Many of those taking part in this year’s Boao Forum attended China’s largest annual business gathering via video.

It’s progress from last year when the whole event was canceled.

Business travelers are not heading back on the road as quickly as people going on vacation, but industry professionals are talking about the potential return of the “MICE market.”

That stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions.

It’s an important market for Hawaii—and for Singapore.

Last month, GEO Connect Asia in Singapore attracted about 1,000 people who attended in person—with others joining by video, a hybrid approach that’s become popular.

Pre-event testing has been another standard practice, but vaccines could change that.

Singapore’s Tourism Board says it will likely start with local attendees who are vaccinated. The first test may be the Architecture and Building Services trade show at the end of June.

Some 2,500 people are expected to attend in person.

It’s all a warm-up for the country’s main event of 2021—guest-hosting the World Economic Forum, usually held in Davos Switzerland in January. This year it's headed for the tropical heat of Singapore in August.

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