Singapore has “thus far” had “around 29 business events” during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the World Economic Forum’s special annual meeting slated to take place in August, said the Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan in Parliament on Thursday (25 Feb).
The WEF, which aims to become the first global leadership event to address the global pandemic recovery, was scheduled to be held from 13 to 16 May this year.
This was subsequently pushed back to 25 May until 28 May, and was further delayed to 17 August until 20 August due to the “international challenges in containing the pandemic”.
Beyond business events, he cited the ONE Championship and the ATP tennis tour coming up this weekend, which the authorities are “calibrating according to the prevailing COVID-19 situation”.
“We will be open to seizing these opportunities by making sure that we conduct the event safely for a global community, for the attendees, but also for our local community,” Mr Tan added.
Mr Tan said that the rationale behind pushing forward with such events is that “Singapore must remain open to the world and all the different opportunities”.
Responding to a Parliamentary question by Yio Chu Kang SMC Member of Parliament (MP) Yip Hon Weng, Mr Tan said the change of dates by the WEF reaffirmed the organisation’s confidence in Singapore’s management of the COVID-19 situation and the proposed safety measures to conduct the event.
“I’d like to assure (Mr Yip) that we will proceed with the necessary preparations with this new dates in mind, but we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation here in Singapore as well as globally and make the necessary preparations as required,” he said.
Mr Yip raised a supplementary question to ask whether the government will consider organizing the event virtually or in a hybrid style should the COVID-19 situation worsens.
Mr Tan explained that the WEF event will be subject to the Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) safe business events framework, which includes testing, safe management measures and others.
“This will apply of course to the WEF’s special annual meeting, but we’re building muscle to test, to trace [and] to vaccinate,” the Minister asserted.