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Update of COVID-19 and MICE industry in Asian Countries


Update of COVID-19 and MICE industry in Asian Countries
by AFECA Board Members & Advisors

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I. Taiwan (Shared by Walter Yeh, TAITRA)
1. Situation of COVID-19 in Taiwan:
(1) Taiwan is one of the safest places in the world, with only 440 confirmed cases and currently 32 consecutive days with no new confirmed local cases.
(2) There is no current lockdown or restrictions on business. The advice is to cancel mass gathering events or comply with the guidelines published by Taiwan’s CDC.
(3) Wearing masks on public transport is mandatory. Citizens and permanent residents can order masks online through the Government-operated system.
(4) Social distancing is encouraged always. Domestic travel is gradually increasing with encouraging signs for the tourism industry.
2. Economic Stimulus Plan in Taiwan (According to Executive Yuan, Taiwan)
(1) The Government provided the first phase of a stimulus package, totaling NTD 60 billion (US$ 1.99 billion), in a special budget to fund prevention measures and assist those local sectors hardest hit by the outbreak. The total amount of the economic stimulus package is expected to reach NTD 150 billion (US$ 5 billion).
(2) The Government allocated NTD 40.4 billion to subsidize a wide range of industrial sectors such as the MICE industry, service industry, manufacturing industry, tourism industry, transportation industry, agriculture/fishing industry, and arts/cultural industry.
(3) For MICE industry employees, the Government is providing NTD 10,000 per person/month, which is expected to continue for three months.
(4) For MICE companies, the Government is providing operating subsidies according to the company's number of full-time employees.
(5) Subsidy to the Employee Occupation Training Fee:
A. The Government is subsidizing the Job Training Fee to help service industry employees gain more occupational skills to address the impact.
B. The subsidy for vocational training costs is NTD 158 per person/hour, up to 120 hours per person/month. The total amount of subsidy per company is subject to an NTD 3,000,000 cap.
3. Exhibition Industry in Taiwan:
(1) Only six of 62 B2B shows are postponed to next year. Other shows will remain as scheduled for the second half of this year.
(2) The earliest B2B show will be in July (aka 2020 BIO Asia-Taiwan)
(3) The Government is preparing guidelines for exhibitions to reopen during the existence of COVID-19. The guidelines are expected to include:
A. Preparation phase:
Planning for precautionary measurements, inspection of venues, feasibility of plans, considerations of exhibition dates, and special needs for the size of events (from small to large).
B. Before the show:
Measures include the dissemination of guidance information to event participants, the establishment of a task force on disease prevention, the establishment of a network between the Government and organizers, the disinfection of venues, the preparation of emergency and quarantine plans, and the control of movement-in/movement-out schedules.
C. During the show:
Practices include onsite medical staff, venue disinfection operations, controlled ventilation, crowd management, social distance principles, attendants' health checks, zero-touch measures, reporting and tracking systems, etc.
D. Post Show:
Evaluation, feedback, and modification of precautionary measures.
(4) The Government will provide a subsidy to exhibition exhibitors, which is subject to a cap (to be determined).
(5) The royalty fee for the state-owned venue will be deducted by 50 percent for private venue operators this year (to be determined).

*For more information about the MICE Industry in Taiwan under COVID-19, please visit the following websites:

II. India (Shared by Ravinder Sethi, R.E. Rogers India and Sandeep Gurwara, Services International)
1. Situation of COVID-19 in India:
(1) The curve (of COVID-19) is on the rise, but we are doing well considering India is a huge country with a large population.
The Government is doing well, and the curve is expected to flatten in the coming days.
(2) India went through a highly successful lockdown. Lockdown-1 for three weeks, lockdown-2 for two weeks, and lockdown-3 will finish on May 17. Between Lockdown 2 and 3, rural places and industries slowly began to function again.
2. Economy in India
(1) The economy is gradually rebounding, and sectors are re-opening.
(2) A stimulus was provided by the Government, which represents 10 percent of India's GDP (US$265 billion). This is the largest stimulus package given in the world.
3. Exhibition Industry in India
(1) The virus hit India at the start of the rainy season, which is from March to July. Most of the shows are consumer shows and some exhibitions had already finished before COVID-19 hit. Currently, the exhibition industry has not been severely affected.
(2) Regarding reopening, associations are beginning to organise SOPs and the first show will likely take place in September. Some consumer shows open earlier in July or August.
(3) The industry has advised the Government that it should be part of the COVID-19 stimulus policy and reopening of exhibitions.

*For more information about the exhibition industry in India under COVID-19, please visit….

III. Singapore (Shared by Edward Liu, CEMS and Andrew Phua, Singapore Tourism Board)
1. Concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic:
(1) We are seeing signs of certain parts of Asia slowly re-opening.
(2) European companies may not come back to exhibit in Asia until next year.
2. New challenges for the exhibition industry:
(1) Exhibitions may need to focus on local exhibitors due to fewer European and American exhibitors.
(2) Government advisors in AFECA can provide additional support to local event organizers for local events. This helps to build confidence.
(3) When the pandemic has settled, we will be ready for business, though not for business as usual. Some new norms will need to be adopted for exhibitions.
(4) Guidelines on best practices for exhibitions could be developed.
(5) The Asian MICE sectors should communicate with and support each other even more during this pandemic.
3. STB and SACEOS prepares for a return to the new normal:
(1) The lockdown will end on June 1. With the situation of COVID-19 well controlled, we are expecting business to reopen gradually in the coming months. The Government has provided subsidies for 75% of employee wages in the MICE industry, up to 4,600 SGD.
(2) We are working closely with SACEOS on three fronts.
A. The first is innovation and reformatting our event to hybrid virtual events. We have launched marketing promotion partnerships with our stakeholders, which will enable them to leverage technologies to develop their events.
B. The second phase is developing SACEOS virtual training.
C. The third part is to seek partnerships and alliances, encouraging collaboration for industry members to survive. We are looking for countries/regions to form travel bubbles. The first wave includes Australia and New Zealand, and we are likely to explore possibilities with Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

*For more information about the MICE Industry in Singapore under COVID-19, please visit….

IV. Vietnam (Shared by Judy Nguyen, HCM City Tourism Promotion Center)
1. Update from Vietnam:
(1) Vietnam has 288 confirmed cases (5/13) with no casualties. There have been 27 days free of new local cases and the spread has been controlled by the Government.
(2) No lockdowns anymore.
2. Steps Vietnam is taking:
(1) Vietnam is aiming to be a safe destination for international travelers.
(2) For tourism, Vietnam is firstly targeting domestic travelers. The Government is encouraging its people to travel domestically.
(3) After the Government develops its inbound market, it will then consider its outbound market.
3. For MICE sectors:
(1) MICE is a significant and key sector for tourism in Vietnam and HCM City in particular.
(2) The MICE industry in Vietnam is similar to that in Thailand.
(3) We will begin business shows at the end of June for both the domestic and international sectors.
(4) If a large MICE group wants to visit Vietnam, the Government will coordinate with the organizer and the overseas Vietnamese embassy to firstly conduct COVID-19 health checks of the group. If no infections are confirmed, the group can come to Vietnam and avoid the 14 day-quarantine.
(5) We welcome international passengers to Vietnam and HCM City.

*For more information about the MICE Industry in Vietnam under COVID-19, please visit….

V. Thailand (Shared by Nichapa Yoswee, TCEB)
1. Update from Thailand:
(1) The Thai Government spent US$70 billion on the situation.
(2) The current status of confirmed cases in Thailand is positive.
2. Steps Thailand is taking:
(1) We are looking at reopening measures and implementing them in phases.
(2) The first phase includes industries like department stores, restaurants and some public venues.
(3) TECB is encouraging the Government to put the MICE industry in the second reopening phase - June 2020.
3. Strategies adopted by TCEB:
(1) 3R strategy: resume, recovery, restoration.
(2) TCEB provided $4 million in support and special funds to activate domestic exhibitions.
4. Exhibitions industry:
(1) If the Government opens exhibitions in June, 51 expos are expected to run on schedule in the second half of the year.
(2) Only five of the 56 exhibitions supported by TCEB have been postponed to next year.
5. New norms for post-pandemic events:
(1) For post-COVID exhibitions, measures must be taken to contain the risks.
(2) Size of events may be smaller.
(3) An inclusive community will be formed so that virtual events and a business online match-making application are developed.
(4) Technology is critical and should be used wisely to practice a touch-free spirit.
(5) For attendees of events in Thailand, visitors must be from countries where no new cases have been confirmed.
(6) Disinfection measures and social distancing rules must always be maintained.
(7) Air flow considerations will be addressed as a precautionary plan.
(8) Crowd management:
A. Some organizers have suggested limiting the age group of attendees, especially those 70 years or older, for safety concerns.
B. Some suggest we should limit the number of visitors per hour to better control the situation.
C. There must be a tracking and tracing system for attendees and organizers to be able to follow up if there is a need.
(9) Thailand regards these measures as general practice to be followed by every exhibition in Thailand, including domestic and international organizers. Discussions continue on a daily basis.

*For more information about the exhibition industry in Thailand under COVID-19, please visit….

VI. The Philippines (Shared by Maria Anthonette C. Velasco-Allones, TPB)
1. Government’s support to the industry:
(1) Government agencies, such as TPB, have been intervening in the tourism sector since March. The 43 billion pesos budget is helping the industry bounce back with measures including wage subsidies and zero-interest loans for small and medium-sized enterprises.
(2) Half a million workers in the tourism industry have wage subsidies. The Government has also helped nearly 2,000 foreign tourists return to their country with rescue flights and provided them with care and hygiene kits.
2. Shift to digital/virtual:
(1) To help the industry prepare to bounce back, part of TPB's focus is to shift to digital.
(2) A webinar on the future of MICE in the Philippines was held.
Another webinar on the topic of travel will be held on May 19.
(3) TPB also provides online training to further enhance workers' capacities in this industry.
(4) We have launched several virtual campaigns for tourism in the Philippines, both for the international and domestic market. After an exchange of views with the Philippines Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers, Inc. (PACEOS), two major conferences this year will now be virtual.

*For more information about the MICE Industry in the Philippines under COVID-19, please visit

VII. Malaysia (Shared by Dato’ Sri Abdul Khani bin Daud, MyCEB and Dato’ Vincent Lim, MACEOS)
1. Gradual lifting of restrictions:
(1) From March 18, the Government announced the Movement Control Order (MCO), a semi-lockdown that is a major influence on our industry. A lot of people are now working from home or staying at home.
(2) From May 4 a revision was made to the MCO, allowing some factories to return to normal.
(3) After the MCO, the Ministry of Health will impose another restriction on mass gatherings for six months. We are suggesting that the Government reduce this to three months. Hopefully, our business can return to normal by September, beginning with small events.
2. Mass gatherings still prohibited:
(1) Due to the MCO, none of our venues are open today. The MCO is expected to end in June.
(2) Mass gatherings, including exhibitions and conferences, are still not allowed at this time.
(3) MyCEB and MACEOS are working closely to appeal to the Government. A reopening SOP has been submitted to the Government. We are pleased to share our SOP with every AFECA member and encourage all of us to share our SOPs.
(4) Government agencies in our industry in Asia should work together to bring events to our region.
For more information about the MICE Industry in Malaysia under COVID-19, please visit….

VIII. China (Shared by Zheng Zhi, XMCEA)
1. Work and life gradually returning to normal
(1) The Government recently announced permits to allow MICE events. Events will gradually open in some Chinese cities.
Most events will start opening in the second half of this year, with Xiamen's first exhibition expected to open in mid-June.
(2) We have an online training program for workers in the industry during the work-at-home period.

*For more information, please visit the following websites:

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