WEF points to Marina Bay Sands for “Davos” Summit in Singapore: sources

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The World Economic Forum (WEF) aims to attract around 1,000 delegates for its Singapore summit in late May and wants the iconic Marina Bay Sands complex to host the event, two sources familiar with it said. with the organization’s plans.

Sources, who did not want to be identified while negotiations are underway, said plans for the May 25-28 event were still fluid given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic raging around the world.

The WEF and Marina Bay Sands declined to comment. The Singapore Department of Commerce did not immediately have comments.

The annual meeting of political and business leaders has been postponed from his usual home in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, from hence its informal name, in Singapore in December due to virus safety concerns, organizers said.

If it goes as planned, the event would be the first in-person global conference since COVID-19 began spreading widely in early 2020. The previous WEF Summit in Davos in January 2020 was one of the latest and attracted 3,000 delegates and thousands of others for collateral events.

The WEF is targeting around 1,000 delegates in Singapore, the sources say, possibly up to 1,800 if conditions allow. The usual side events – which in previous years have seen the population of the Alpine city of Davos grow from 10,000 to about 30,000 will be greatly reduced due to the virus, the sources added.

However, there is a lot of uncertainty. Singapore, a 5.7 million Southeast Asian island nation, has its borders largely closed to visitors for nearly a year and has imposed strict quarantine measures on returning residents.

The emergence of more infectious virus variants has led the city-state to impose further travel restrictions in some countries in recent weeks.

WEF organizers hope attendees will be able to avoid quarantines through rigorous testing and remaining in a cut-out “bubble”. from the local population. Singapore is expected to launch a trial of a limited version of this program at the end of the month and has also said it will consider reducing travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers.

Alvin Tan, a senior Commerce Ministry official, said earlier this month that there will be measures to manage interactions between WEF attendees and locals, but said specific details are still being worked out. processing.

Finding a place for this WEF bubble, where attendees can also eat, sleep and socialize, has led the organization to target Marina Bay Sands as potential guests, the sources said.

Marina Bay Sands, owned by the late billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, is the world’s most recognizable building in the wealthy city-state skyline, regularly featured on postcards and other tourist items.

Resembling a surfboard perched atop three towers, it has more than 2,500 rooms and suites, a casino, shops and restaurants, as well as convention and exhibition facilities that can accommodate over 45,000 delegates.

A virus-proof business travel facility under construction at a convention center near the airport could also be among the venues to host WEF travelers, authorities said.

John Geddie reporting; additional reports by Aradhana Aravindan and Chen Lin; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan