Singapore played host to TravelRevive, the first international travel tradeshow to take place physically in the Asia Pacific during COVID-19. Welcoming 65 international attendees from 14 countries, including the Philippines, TravelRevive is the first pilot tradeshow to trial the newly developed ‘hybrid event’—that is, a blending of virtual and physical event elements while retaining the ‘live’ aspect—and tradeshow prototype for safe business events, safe itineraries, and digital enablers in Singapore. It leads the way for the resumption of such events with rigorous protocols and innovative solutions, reimagining the future of MICE—meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions—in the current COVID-19 situation.
“Following the disruptions inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, this event is a small but significant step forward for Singapore tourism, paving the way for a safe yet enjoyable travel experience for future visitors to Singapore,” said Ruby Liu, Area Director, Philippines, Singapore Tourism Board. “During the extensive planning process, we challenged ourselves to reimagine how travel could be – creating a fresh Singapore experience, without compromising safety and peace of mind.”
Ensuring the safety of attendees, stringent safe management measures were set in place during every stage of an event attendees’ journey—from pre-to post-event—with the further assurance of crowd density controls. These include right-sized booths complemented with mini meeting pods that are equipped with protective plexi-glass to facilitate safe one-to-one meetings between exhibitors and buyers.
To allow for proper contact tracing for international visitors, the use of TraceTogether—a mobile app that supports Singapore’s efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 through community-driven contact tracing—was implemented alongside the launch of an online diary mobile app to safely arrange one-to-one meetings between exhibitors and buyers.
To best prepare Singapore for phased resumption of leisure travel, STB has also been working closely with industry stakeholders to establish a framework guide for tourism businesses, including travel agents, in developing safe itineraries, from virtual tours with hands on in-hotel activities to private museum visits and more.
Among those who got first-hand experience of this model are four tourism delegates from the Philippines. The four-member team was able to try out a well-planned itinerary consisting of popular tourist spots, that were assessed and instilled with safety measures, such as Gardens by the Bay, Night Safari, and a Vespa tour, even.
Among the strict safety measures being implemented at attractions include:
- Ensuring all staff wear masks and any other necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, except during activities which require masks to be removed
- That groups of visitors entering together must not exceed five (5) pax and all have masks on for the duration of the visit
- The implementation of reasonable steps to ensure that there is a distance of at least one (1) meter between individuals not from the same group, whether visitors or staff
- The mandatory implementation of SafeEntry—a national digital check-in system used for contact tracing and identification of COVID-19 clusters
- Ensuring that TraceTogether mobile application or TraceTogether Token can be used for SafeEntry check-in
“Despite the safety measures and restrictions, our travel itinerary still retained many fun elements,” said General Manager of Asia Reps Travel Services Inc. Ritchie Tuaño, one of the attendees. “The event was carried out in a well-thought manner, and I look forward to not only coming back, but to invite fellow PTAA members as well to visit Singapore.”
“Singapore is doing a remarkable job in terms of tourists’ safety and allowing us to have fun despite the fact that we’re following a strict controlled itinerary,” says Dorothy Aytona, president of Skynet Travel Corp. “When international travel resumes, I invite everyone from Philippines to visit Singapore. Safe po sa Singapore, ito ang pinaka-safe na puntahan! [It’s safe in Singapore. This is the safest place to visit!]”