The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has killed thousands of people around the world since it first emerged in China last December. The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak a pandemic. Alarm has grown about the economic impact as travel and social contact are restricted.
Few of today's leaders have ever faced anything like this public health and economic fallout. As many governments belatedly realise that health systems will buckle and deaths mount, their leaders are at last coming to terms with the fact that they will have to weather the storm. Three factors will determine how they cope: their attitude to uncertainty; the structure and competence of their health systems; and, above all, whether they are trusted.
Till now, one of the best scorers for all these three factors has been Singapore, which has had many fewer cases than expected and exemplifies how best to respond to the crisis. Thanks to an efficient bureaucracy in a single small territory, world-class universal health care and the well-learned lesson of SARS (an epidemic of a related virus in 2003), Singapore acted early and decisively, while keeping cool. It has been able to make difficult trade-offs with public consent because its message has been consistent, science-based and trusted.
Nevertheless, the Singapore economy continues to feel sharp pains. One of the first to bear the negative economic consequences of COVID-19 was the city-state's tourism industry. In the early days of the outbreak, Singapore's significant reliance on trade and tourism from China meant that the effects were felt immediately. Now, the lion city's attraction as a global transport and logistics hub has become a double-edged sword, as its open trading economy and extensive global connections have left it highly exposed to the pandemic.
What leadership and business lessons can we learn from the experience of the tourism industry and its related sectors, as it was first hit by COVID-19?
Join us in an exclusive online conversation with Keith Tan, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board, and also enjoy a specially curated lunch that we will deliver to you.
We will discuss how:
· businesses are repositioning themselves amid this crisis;
· companies can better prepare for wild cards or external shocks; and
· this year's black swan could change longer-term strategies for the tourism industry and other consumer sectors.
We also hear first-hand perspectives of how Singapore is managing through the COVID-19 crisis and the lessons drawn from the experience.
We are delighted to be delivering a special lunch to participants joining the session. When your registration is confirmed, we will shortly provide details of how to order and receive your lunch.
Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please send an email to email@example.com.