Governments are transforming through digitalization to develop SMART services. Three significant trends of innovations that many recent governments have focused on are interconnected system and sharing economy of public value. Many governments have successfully adopted these trends in implementing innovative services including national single window in Korea, e-Conference visa in India and sharing economy of government spaces in Netherland. With innovative services, all MICE stakeholders are being supported in terms of facilitation, higher trading and cost reduction that they can submit all required documents about trading and accessing the immigration system through online one stop service.
SMART Government as a key initiative for successful development
A government plays a principal role in all aspects of our everyday life especially fulfillment of effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability in citizen-centric services to enhance the national level. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported only 43% of citizens’ trust their government and this rate is dropping with a general belief that governments are unable to protect the best interests of their people. However, the revolution of information and technologies have led to the concept of e-government which is the initial system to transform communication networks and information systems into smart government services that are able to improve citizens’ trust on their government. Smart governments level up the collaboration among government entities and its citizens’ businesses by providing better accessibility of government services, more transparency and accountability. According to MarketersMedia, the leading news and content distribution company, the global market of system providing for smart government is expected to grow from $10.16 billion in 2016 to $39.27 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 21.3%. which means that many recent governments aim to be more innovative as enablers who serve smart services to improve citizens’ lives and enhance industry growth.
There are 2 significant trends that have shaped government to be smart which are interconnected system and sharing economy of public value.
Governments aim to make further advancement in the paradigm shift from paper-based data to digital data that leads to e-Government communication network. The network allows government agencies to connect with one another. The e-Government system proceeds as a linkage facility between government agencies and all citizens within one-stop portal. Such a system typically improves effectiveness, accountability, and efficiency through time and cost savings for both private sectors in their dealings with government authorities and public sectors in an internal communication.
Moreover, many recent governments also have cooperated with their partners to create smart identities from the potential of innovative amenities and emerging advanced technologies which transform the traditional access in government’s services. For examples, people have to give their personal data such as name, phone number and identity card to verify themselves, with smart access they can just using the fingerprints and iris scans to access the service. The smart identity will make people more secure and convenient to sign in to government services. Furthermore, interacting processes with governments will be seamless, quicker and more effective.
Innovation and revolution of advanced technologies are opportunities of governments to seek new abilities in themselves and to explore a range of possibilities for providing effective services. To maximize the efficacy of governments, they need to transform and re-align their service plan and management to share economy with private sectors by opening doors for citizens to access the public value of government, while also embracing the major shifts occurring in people’s everyday lives such as under-utilized of government properties.
Best practice cases of innovation in government services
Many governments have successfully transformed their services to be smart for solving the problem and matching the new requirements in digital age. Here are three best practice cases for MICE Industry to implement.
Case Study 1: National Single window – Korea
Currently, Korea Customs Service officially launched an internet-based single window system named UNIPASS. It is a web-based customs clearance portal where traders and customs brokers can conduct customs clearance business without fee. Then, UNIPASS is responsible to deal with other regulatory agencies systems. UNIPASS is considered as one of the most advanced customs systems that deliver all customs-related services. Moreover, Korean government has conducted all trade-related procedures called “uTradeHub”. It is a paperless trade portal that covering all trade procedures together from marketing, custom clearance to settlement. The total saving costs for the business community from the use of the uTradeHub are estimated to 1 billion. These include savings from transmission cost by using e-documents, improving productivity by automating administrative work and improving management, storage and retrieval of information and documents through using information technology (ESCAP, 2018).
National single window importantly relates to MICE industry in terms of trading or importing the products to show in the activities. In Thailand, national single window is still in the development process. Some of data linkage from public agencies have not been completed. Once everything has completed, all stakeholders in MICE industry can get the benefit in terms of one stop service for the submission of all required information to all authorities involved in clearance procedures that are more fast, accurate, transparent and predictable with less bureaucratic. National single window as a trade facilitation tool can enhance trading transactions in MICE industry.
Case Study 2: e-Conference Visa – India
In order to boost revenue in MICE industry, the government in New Delhi, India has tried to furnish incentives to MICE Industry such as relaxing visa norms and MICE promotions. Previously, the process of approving visa for foreigners who want to attend conferences and workshops in India was complicated and time consuming since the foreigners had to get security clearance from several government agencies including the ministry of home affairs, external affairs and the ministry of their nodal agency. The ministry of tourism in India has issued a conference visa under e-visa system with the purpose of easing the multiple clearance process for foreigners coming to government-sponsored conference. The foreign attendees can apply, pay, and receive e-conference visa through online in one stop. Despite the imposition of higher goods and service tax, e-conference visa positively impacts MICE sector in India in terms of surging in international participants and improving the global MICE rankings from 35th in 2014 to 31th in 2017, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
In Thailand’s MICE industry, foreign attendees in MICE activities, especially international speakers who have to get work permits, have also faced with a many required document and long processing time for visa approval. Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is planning to implement one stop service that facilitates all business participants in MICE activities for the process of visa approval and provides other related effective services. If this service is completely launched, a large number of visitors will be attracted to attend in MICE activities and invest in long term.
Case Study 3: Sharing economy for government spaces – Amsterdam, Netherland
Sharing economy has become a worldwide trend like the idea of Uber and Airbnb. The city of Amsterdam, Netherland has definitely pinned it down for government services in the concept of sharing and collaborating to create a friendly and sustainable city. Spaces and rooms in the government buildings that are not normally used are shared to civil society organizations in order to do any useful activities with a social impact. The organizations can conveniently reserve the rooms through an online platform. Over a period of eight months, the concept of opening spaces in civic building for use has proved that sharing government resources is a feasible way to satisfy public needs and enhance business growth. The government expects to expand the concept beyond renting rooms to municipal vehicles and tools for the next step.
Sharing under-utilized offices in government buildings can be adapted in MICE industry in terms of meeting and conference places. The government offices are generally located across the country. If there are available spaces in government building that can share for MICE activities, organizers can choose the place that they want with a reasonable rental rate anytime and anywhere through a government online platform. Thus, organizers will save time to find suitable event venues and cost from a low rental rate. Also, the government can maximize the unused spaces and make money from it. Therefore, this looks like a win-win situation for both the government and MICE stakeholders.
SMART Government Services as a key driver in the MICE Industry
Traditionally, all MICE stakeholders have to deal with multiple government agencies at multiple locations to complete their processes related to MICE activities. This old system is an obstacle to MICE stakeholders for setting up or joining international exhibitions and events in Thailand since it is both time-consuming and complicated. With the advancement of technology, the smart government is a facilitator of value creation that can enhance convenience to both public and private sectors in MICE industry.
Bring the relevant government departments together in an online platform, the idea of one stop service along with e-services, lets the stakeholders easily access to the government’s services in anytime and anywhere. MICE activities especially related about trading and immigration processes involve with many government agencies. As examples of national single window and e-visa, MICE stakeholders can accurately submit all required documents through online in one place without taking much time. Better facilitations provided by the smart government can ease the workflow of MICE activities and stakeholders to be not that hard anymore.