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Feature Cover Story 20 MAR-APR 2020 MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS MCMAG-ASIA.COM Ms Petrina Goh, director, Singapore, CWT Meetings & Events, said planners look at travel restrictions and advisories placed on countries and cities by the likes of consulates, ministries and other organisations that assess travel risks, and use these as pointers as to where delegates can and cannot go, "but generally planners don't look beyond that. It's very fragmented." Safety and security require interpreting many variables such as general physical health, electoral cycles, weather patterns, security of the venue and its vicinity, !re safety, exit points, doctors, and the security team in-house. The sophisticated ones Some industries are more sophisticated than others in their understanding and application of these factors. These include oil and gas and pharmaceutical companies. "Pharma companies usually include emergency hotlines in all event collateral, the emergency number in the city where the event is taking place, and the address of the nearest hospital. We encourage all planners to include this information in their event collateral," said Ms Goh. A planner should go beyond the reactive side of planning and aim at what is happening on the ground and on-site during the pre-event stage. "For instance, if you were going to Thailand and Indonesia during election times, you need a very advanced view. We would look at on-site threats and potential routes for evacuation. If you are o"-site, the concerns are vastly di"erent from a business-travel city scenario," said Mr Lay. Besides screening tour operators, checking their safety records and checking to see if it is safe to put delegates on a boat or in a cable car, a planner needs to mitigate risks such as pick-pocketing and petty crime. Contingency plans are needed even for "safe" destinations. "What happens if something does go wrong," said Ms Goh. "Planners must understand where the liability will fall should things go wrong. The legal and reputation repercussions are big considerations and we notice a move away from the adventurous traveller to the adventurous but cautious traveller." Banking on ideas Recently, International SOS supported a bank which was hosting its key customers at a football competition, The Asian Cup. International SOS works with MICE planners to provide pre-event and online medical and security support, such as pre-trip advisories, event medical and security support plans, and pre-event health and safety brie!ngs for event personnel. Mr Aditya Luthra, security director, Asia Paci!c, International SOS, said: "The bank sought our assistance to manage medical and security threats during the event, which involved a large international audience in three di"erent countries over a 30-day period. "To ensure that the bank and its planning team were prepared to manage the medical and security challenges during such a large-scale event, International SOS conducted a full pre- event brie!ng with the event coordinator, and provided delegates with health and safety guides. The International SOS Assistance Centre in Singapore was also on standby for an immediate response if required." Choosing hotels In hotels, Mr Stanley Ng, director of sales, MICE international sales, Singapore, Accor, believes it is key to arrange a prior site inspection. The meeting with the meeting planner should involve both safety and security teams of the company and hotel to review a hotel's security protocal and policy. Other measures include conducting physical checks of passport details when "Planners must understand where the liability will fall should things go wrong... we notice a move away from the adventurous traveller to the adventurous but cautious traveller." - PETRINA GOH, DIRECTOR, SINGAPORE, CWT MEETINGS & EVENTS

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