More major events in Singapore to be delayed as social distancing kicks in

Singapore International Water Week postponed; Singapore International Energy Week launch delayed

Annabeth Leow
Published Fri, Mar 20, 2020 · 09:50 PM


SOME flagship industry showcases that regularly put Singapore on the world map will have to be delayed this year, as the Covid-19 pandemic puts the kibosh on large gatherings.

The Singapore International Water Week (SIWW), a biennial showcase that has run since 2008, was postponed on Friday. The event, initially set to run along with the World Cities Summit and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore this July, will now take place from June 20 to 24, 2021.

The postponements came amid social distancing rules that kicked in on Friday, barring events with 250 or more participants until June 30, 2020.

Two SIWW co-located events, the Asia Infrastructure Forum and Ecosperity Week, were moved on Friday too. Ecosperity Week, which is presented by state investment firm Temasek, will take place in June 2021.

Meanwhile, Infrastructure Asia, a tie-up between government agency Enterprise Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said the new Asia Infrastructure Forum date "will be announced in due course".

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Separately, the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), an annual energy event slated for end-October, was to have been officially launched at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre on March 30.

But the global launch ceremony was postponed on Friday, in line with the social distancing guidelines, with no fresh date immediately available. The Energy Market Authority did not respond by press time on whether the SIEW, which has been held since 2008 and drew more than 13,000 delegates in 2019, will go ahead this year.

New restrictions on large events are a fresh blow to Singapore's already embattled meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) industry, which saw a flurry of rescheduling in recent months.

Andrew Phua, director of exhibitions and conferences at the Singapore Tourism Board, told The Business Times on Tuesday that "it is inevitable that many events have not gone ahead", although it is too early to quantify the impact on the sector.

Mr Phua also said that, "as the situation is expected to persist, we are currently working on enhanced relief measures to help the Mice industry and the tourism industry at large".

The upcoming SIWW had been expected to draw a similar number of attendees as in 2018, when it attracted some S$23 billion in business deals, as well as more than 24,000 attendees and about 1,100 companies.

One highlight of the SIWW is the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, an accolade that is handed out alongside the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.

"Singapore and countries worldwide have implemented various restrictions, including on travel and large-scale events," event organisers said in an advisory issued on Friday. "We will continue to work with strategic partners, business leaders, governments and delegates around the world to discuss challenges, opportunities and share best practices for developing more resilient, sustainable and liveable cities."

The SIWW is organised by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and national water agency PUB. The World Cities Summit is put on by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Centre for Liveable Cities, a joint MEWR and Ministry of National Development set-up, while the CleanEnviro Summit is organised by the National Environment Agency.

READ MORE: Covid-19: Stricter measures like ban on events with over 250 people; new contact tracing app

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