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Singapore Raises Bar on Security Procedures for Meetings Industry

Travel News Asia 22 August 2003

Singapore will be the launch market for a new, multi-company rule book for safety standards in the meetings profession. Developed by a panel of international meetings specialists together with local advisors, COPE certification covers security, logistics, and operations. Targeted at hotels, destination management companies, professional conference organisers and exhibition centres, the aim is to tighten the reigns on security and logistics at premier meetings and events. The COPE certification is expected to raise the competitiveness of Singapore in attracting leading meetings and events.

Combining the principles of CONTROL and PERFORMANCE, the unique value of COPE is that it works across all companies involved in staging a world class meeting or convention, from the hotels, to the convention centre, to the ground transportation company, resulting in a seamless, end to end product.

Chairman of COPE International, Peter Kock, explained: The recent events at the JW Marriott in Jakarta exemplify the need for an industry-wide standard of security cooperation. Indeed, if it were not for the alertness of the security guard at the entrance, the devastation could have been much worse. COPE aims to raise the level of awareness for all people involved in the event to diminish risks at every step. In event management, vendors tend to operate in silos, independent of each other. The COPE programme seeks to transcend organisational boundaries so that all vendors are inextricably linked.

COPE International said it is launching in Singapore because of the high quality of preparedness and the excellent infrastructure already available here.

T. Markland Blaiklock, Managing Director, Raffles Hotels and Resorts said: The launch of COPE is very timely. We are honoured to be the founding members of COPE. The certification will provide a distinctive competitive advantage for Singapores meetings and conventions infrastructure.

COPE will be in Singapore for a year before it expands, giving Singapore first mover status in the world of meetings and events. 

Events such as SIBOS 2003, taking place in October this year, will be the main beneficiaries of a COPE standard. Attracting 6,000 of the worlds leading investment bankers, SIBOS delegates demand control over all logistics, and require absolutely the highest standards of performance. The COPE certification will be an important tool for Singapore to continue to attract events of this scale.

In fact, COPEs founding members: Raffles The Plaza, Swissotel The Stamford, Suntec Singapore and Pacific World, are all involved in SIBOS 2003 and will be among the first COPE certified companies. 

Jim Papineau, Director of Sales & Marketing, Suntec Singapore explained: Business travel is a $2.5 billion industry in Singapore. A single event like the upcoming SIBOS can mean up to $100m in revenue alone. It is imperative that we remain at the forefront of the industry to keep our competitive advantage."

Traditionally Singapore has been a world leading destination for the meetings industry. However, events over the past few years have made it increasingly difficult to compete. A slowdown in the global economy, competing pressure from Shanghai and Bangkok, war in Iraq, the SARS scare and the ever present shadow of terrorism have combined to reduce confidence in business travel.

Bob Guy, Managing Director of Pacific World said: In our industry we are running meetings and events for leading corporations and industry bodies. Security is now a primary concern for any organisation looking to host a global conference. And its not just security from terrorism, but also the security of their intellectual property rights, the security of the logistics. COPE is an important development for the industry as a whole.

COPE certification involves a two to five month implementation, depending on the size of the venue. First, a hotel or conference centre will undergo an independent audit of its security procedures. Second, senior management undergo training in the COPE awareness program and in the implementation of the COPE Standards. Management will then have several weeks to bring the organisation and staff up to COPE standards. Once a second audit has been passed, the organisation will be COPE certified.

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