Photo Credit: Exhibition World

A reopening roadmap for the region’s business events industry has been charted and reaffirmed by ASEAN leaders and global exhibitions organisers, who met face-to-face at the Joint Leadership Summit (JLS) at the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore, 5-7 October 2021.

As Southeast Asia continues its reopening journey, steps were taken to bring back the core purpose and value of exhibitions as economic drivers and a way of accelerating global commerce.

Supported by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and co-organised by the Singapore Association for Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS), the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), the Society for Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, the JLS convened regional government representatives, global organisers and trade association leaders on an action plan for the safe reopening of the business events industry in the region.

They discussed the need to re-open inter-and intra-regional travel routes while ensuring the health and safety of travellers as core policy measures. The leaders are calling on the authorities to put into place clear policy initiatives, and common operating protocols across the region to be calibrated.

Aloysius Arlando

President of SACEOS

Aloysius Arlando, president of SACEOS, said: “The reopening of our MICE and events industry requires a global effort and commitment by public and private sector players. As we continue on our journey towards an endemic Covid-19 world, it is now time for us to bring back the core purpose of business events – driving commerce. We are delighted that regional leaders and global industry partners have come together to chart a practical roadmap towards the reopening of business events. And the launch of the Asia CEO Summit in 2022 gives added momentum to the restart of inter and intra-regional business and MICE travel.”


“The economy is bolstered by events. There are no other channels where businesses are able to accomplish so much, so quickly.”

The event also saw the launch of the Asia CEO Summit, envisaged as an annual dialogue for the exhibition industry to review the regional business environment and chart the next course of action. The inaugural Summit will take place 4- 6 October 2022 at the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore.

Mary Larkin, UFI immediate past president and president of Diversified Communications USA, said: “We are on our way to recovery. We came together as a united industry during the Joint Association Leadership Summit to advocate for the reopening of business travel and events in APAC so as to revitalise the incredible international marketplaces that come together here. With our experience in the US, Europe, and Middle East, we were able to demonstrate the safety protocols and reopening successes we have had in many regions, and to share that it can be adapted and implemented throughout ASEAN.”

Hervé Sedky, SISO chair and president and CEO of Emerald, added: “We have always recognised the importance of the Asia event market, and how we need a forum to bring together global leaders in the industry, to share and exchange ideas about opportunities in the ASEAN market. AEO, SISO, and UFI all run annual CEO summits, and these are key meeting places for us as an industry, and a fixture in all of our calendars – but we were missing a critical gathering in Asia.”

Carina Bauer, chair of AEO, and CEO of IMEX Group, said: “Sharing experiences of how other regions have restarted their event sectors, in a safe and controlled manner, has been hugely valuable, and the roadmap we have proposed during the summit we hope provides the framework to support the safe reopening and restarting of the APAC events sector which is critical to economic recovery.”