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07 Oct 2021

MEDIA RELEASE: Reopening roadmap for regional business events reaffirmed by ASEAN and Global Exhibitions leaders in Singapore





Reopening roadmap for regional business events reaffirmed by
ASEAN and Global Exhibitions leaders in Singapore

The launch of the Asia CEO Summit in Singapore will support the development and
reinvigoration of the region's exhibitions industry


7 October 2021 – 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) of AEO / SACEOS / SISO / UFI - Singapore at the Fullerton Hotel on 5-7 October 2021.

As Southeast Asia continues its reopening journey, there has never been a greater need for clear steps in bringing back the core purpose and value of exhibitions as vital economic drivers and a sustainable way of promoting and accelerating global commerce.

Supported by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and co-organised by Singapore Association for Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS), Association of Event Organisers (AEO), Society for Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, the JLS convened regional government representatives, major 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 critical need to re-open inter- and intra-regional travel routes while ensuring the health and safety of travellers as core policy measures. These are the foundations and assurances that business events organisers need to commit their resources and investments into the restart of events across the region. Accordingly, the leaders are calling on the authorities to put into place clear policy initiatives and common operating protocols across the region to be calibrated for a Covid-endemic environment. 

To support the industry’s evolution through a Covid-endemic operating environment, the event also saw the launch of the Asia CEO Summit, an annual dialogue for the exhibition industry to review the regional business environment and chart the next course of action and collaboration for the betterment of the industry. The inaugural Summit will take place from 4-6 October 2022 at the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore. 

Singapore Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan, witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by AEO, SACEOS, SISO, UFI and Singapore Tourism Board. The MOU showcases the commitment to revitalise the regional exhibitions industry and strengthens Singapore’s long-standing position as a safe and trusted Global Asia hub for business events.

Aloysius Arlando, President, 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. This will be vital in rebuilding our communities and economies.”

Mary Larkin, UFI Immediate Past President & 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. We did lament not being joined by our colleagues from the APAC region, like UFI President Anbu Varathan and our next UFI President, Monica Lee-Müller, because of unaligned travel policies, but we are heartened by the strong roadmap in place for restarting the industry. 

“Most critically, what was abundantly clear from this week’s dialogue is that our customers need events. Businesses, especially SMEs, rely on events. The economy is bolstered by events. There are no other channels where businesses are able to accomplish so much, so quickly, and we have seen time and again in regions where events are restarting that business is recovering faster and innovation is pushing forward.”

Quote from Hervé Sedky, SISO Chair, President & CEO of Emerald said: "We have been working on putting this event together for over three years, and the global leaders in attendance at the Joint Association Leadership Summit this week in Singapore, along with others who were not able to join, have put in a substantial effort into making this happen – this is a significant moment.

"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, AEO Chair, and CEO of IMEX Group said: “Reconnecting face to face with the colleagues from across the world during the AEO, SISO, SACEOS, UFI Joint Association Leadership Summit, over the last few days has provided strong evidence to support, and a real reminder of, the power of face-to-face events. Many leaders had not met, or indeed travelled, since February 2020, and we are grateful to SACEOS and STB for enabling this leadership summit to take place. 

“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. We very much look forward to returning to Singapore, for the inaugural Asia CEO Summit in October 2022, to further this dialogue, and enhance collaboration across both the region and our respective associations.”

Download a full copy of the Media Release here.

(Refer to ANNEX A at bottom of the page for quotes from regional exhibitions associations and partners)

About Asia CEO Summit

Asia CEO Summit
Advocacy for the exhibition industry has become increasingly important throughout the pandemic. Now, over a year since our industry has stopped its normal trading cadence, we need a forum for industry players to speak directly to government representatives about the role we will play in re-building economies and societies. Many of our industry players have come to the aid of government around the world, providing space for temporary hospitals, building logistics sites, and turning our venues into vaccination centers. It is now time for us to get back to our main purpose - driving commerce.  To revitalise the region’s efforts, UK based AEO - Association of Event Organizers, USA based SISO – Society for Independent Show Organizers (USA), and Paris-based UFI - Global Association of the Exhibition Industry together with SACEOS – Singapore Association for Convention & Exhibition Organizers & Suppliers, have come together to stage the Asia CEO Summit for the next three years (2022 to 2024) in Singapore. Supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, this event kicked-off with the Joint Leadership Summit (JLS) of AEO / SACEOS / SISO / UFI - Singapore on 5-7 October 2021 comprising the leadership from the four partner associations and invited industry players to put in place a COVID-endemic action plan for exhibitions.  



SACEOS (Singapore Association for Convention Exhibitions Organisers and Suppliers) was formed in 1979 with a mission to be the voice and champion of the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions (MICE) and Events industry, and to bring the community together with a common vision of strengthening Singapore's position as the leading global destination for events. 

By working closely with the government, SACEOS is committed in supporting the industry by fostering innovation, transformation and development. Through our pillars of Community, Commerce and Capabilities, we strive to equip enterprises and workforce to meet their evolving needs, and to emerge stronger together.

For more information, please contact Daniel Teo: Email: Tel: +65 94761154 or

About UFI


About UFI – The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry: UFI is the global trade association of the world’s tradeshow organisers and exhibition centre operators, as well as the major national and international exhibition associations, and selected partners of the exhibition industry. UFI’s main goal is to represent, promote and support the business interests of its members and the exhibition industry. UFI directly represents more than 50,000 exhibition industry employees globally, and also works closely with its 60 national and regional association members. More than 800 member organisations in 83 countries around the world are presently signed up as members. Around 1,000 international trade fairs proudly bear the UFI approved label, a quality guarantee for visitors and exhibitors alike. UFI members continue to provide the international business community with a unique marketing media aimed at developing outstanding face-to-face business opportunities.

For more information, please contact: UFI Headquarters: Email: Tel: +33 (0)1 46 39 75 00 or


About SISO


SISO members include companies, corporations and other for-profit entities that own, produce or provide full-service management of “face-to-face” trade shows, consumer shows, expositions, conferences and events.  SISO membership is a combination of large corporations and small entrepreneurial enterprises that do business around the world.  

SISO’s 200-member companies produce thousands of events around the world. SISO’s Mission, is to meet the common needs of our members, by providing peer networking opportunities, education, industry information, streamlined business processes and best practices in the industry.

For more information, please visit, or contact David Audrain, SISO CEO, at 404-334-4585 or

About AEO


AEO is the United Kingdom’s trade body representing companies which conceive, create, develop or manage trade and consumer events. AEO’s 90 members organise around 1000 trade and consumer shows in the UK and around 1000 shows around the world, which makes them the UK’s 6th largest service exporter by turnover. AEO is run by its members for the benefit of its members, through an elected council of representatives, specialist working groups and a fulltime secretariat, under the four pillars of Community, Representation, Insight and Talent, providing a trusted platform for information exchange and the sharing of best practice.  

For more information, please contact: AEO: Email: Tel: 00 44 (0) 1442 873331 or


Dato’ Vincent Lim, President, Asian Federation of Exhibition and Convention Associations (AFECA) said: “It is a good start to see all the industry leaders coming together with the same common purpose. It proves our resilience, perseverance and agility to progress and I look forward to the future with more of these collaborations to reboot and spur the industry’s growth when we make a comeback. As the saying goes, “Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much”.

Norihisa Hamada, Chairman of the Japan Exhibition Association (JEXA) said: “On behalf of the Japanese exhibition industry, I would like to express my appreciation and full support for the initiative of holding the Asia CEO Summit in 2022. Exhibitions play a significant role in the creation of new business and economic activity, and so it is essential that restrictions on intra-regional business travel be eased at the earliest opportunity to enable exhibitions to achieve their full potential in driving commerce. I am confident that the Asia CEO Summit will be successful and result in a reinvigoration of the region’s exhibitions and business events industry.”

Francis Teo, President of MACEOS said: “MACEOS would like to laud the joint effort of SACEOS, UFI, SISO, AEO and Singapore Tourism Board to launch the Asia CEO Summit on behalf of the ASEAN MICE community. This Summit will showcase the capability of the ASEAN countries to organise international standard events in a safe and secure manner.”

Joel Pascual, President, PACEOS said: “The pandemic is an events industry problem the world shares.  Therefore, efforts such as the Asia CEO Summit to bring the world into a meeting of minds is a big step in the right direction. PACEOS will continue to give its full support and remains hopeful that far-reaching strategies and solutions can come from this noble undertaking.”  

Pravit Sribanditmongkol, President Thai Exhibition Association (TEA) said: “On behalf of Thai Exhibition Association (TEA), I would like to express our appreciation and compliment to your initiation to launch the Asia CEO Summit during this difficult time for the world’s business events. I fully support the idea to get together the world’s leading organisations to share and envision the next move of our industry. I wish the Summit every success in setting the objectives and to lay groundwork for our industry to move on.”



  • “Without a doubt the most valuable three days of the year for networking, learning, and meeting colleagues.”
    Tony Calanca, Calanca & Associates LLC
  • “Two of the best acquisitions Access Intelligence had executed came directly from contacts and discussions held at the SISO CEO Summit. Beyond that important networking for transactions, I learn best practices from the best in the industry. The ROI for membership is immeasurable.”
    Don Pazour, CEO, Access Intelligence
  • “The impact of SISO is so much bigger than its size. It feels more like a global council of important tribes than a traditional trade association.”
    David Adler, CEO & Founder, Bizbash Media
  • “Our industry thrives on the personal relationships that face-to-face builds, and the CEO Summit is the ultimate place to build YOUR network!”
    Tom Mitchell, President, Messe Dusseldorf North America
  • “As busy, independent, for-profit organizer, SISO keeps our company connected to all the key players working in this industry and allows great relationships and ongoing learning of best practices from the best in the business. All invaluable assets to help move our business forward."
    Howard Hauben, CEO, H2 Events
  • “The SISO membership represents the entire for-profit tradeshow community and the annual SISO conferences are must-attend events for their educational and networking value.”
    Joel A. Davis, Founder & CEO, JD Events
  • Being a member of SISO has allowed me to navigate the dynamic landscape of our industry in the most effective way possible. Personally, it’s been a journey of continuous learning, networking, and collaboration that fosters deep relationships with industry leaders. Professionally, the insights I’ve gained, the resources I have accessed, and the collaborative initiatives and advocacy work have helped to take my organization to new heights. SISO, to me, is an indispensable asset for my career and business.
    Liz Irving, President, Clarion Events