Several business events industry stakeholders in Singapore are feeling shortchanged by the Resilience Budget announced last week by the Singaporean government – of which S$440 million (US$309) has been dedicated towards providing relief for the tourism sector.
One of the sore points, according to these stakeholders, is that event organisers such as DMCs, PCOs, and service providers like audiovisual suppliers, F&B caterers, and exhibition stand contractors have fallen through the cracks.
The stimulus package has provisions for only venue owners and travel agencies.
While Andrea Teo, head of Pacific World, Singapore, said the Resilience Budget was a step in the “positive direction”, it “excludes a number of critical players in the MICE ecosystem”.
“These industry players are moving parts that are crucial to running a well-oiled machine. Should these companies be unsuccessful in getting through this period, Singapore will be faced with a lack of capabilities to support our position as a top MICE destination and bear the additional burden of acquiring manpower in an industry that is already facing talent shortages, to begin with,” Teo cautioned.
Trade fair company Koelnmesse’s managing director, Mathias Kuepper, said: “(The situation has) equally affected event organisers, PCOs, DMCs, and all supporting businesses are facing serious challenges to keep their business running over the coming months.”
“We are categorised as ‘Suppliers’ under Enterprise SG’s website (yet we have been excluded from) the latest singaporebudget.gov.sg website. It seems very unfair since we are the first industry to be hit with absolutely zero revenue streams since Chinese New Year, as compared to the F&B, tourism and airline industry,” remarked Gerard Rodrigues, managing director of audio, lighting and video company, Expo AV-InSync.
“MICE venues, such as Singapore Expo, Marina Bay Sands and Suntec, rely heavily on our professional services and solutions. We play an integral part within the MICE ecosystem and contribute to every success of it through event technology and other solutions,” he added.
Rodrigues also pointed out that even though the government has initiated a Working Capital Loan to tide various industries during this period, many business owners in the audiovisual industry have been rejected because their bank statements over the past three months were not healthy.
Kuepper said: “At the end of the day, it wouldn’t benefit Singapore if only venues survive this episode, with nobody left to organise and service the events.”