It is time to dust off those business cards and see if that suit still fits after two years of working from home.

Because, love them or loathe them, physical conferences are back in Singapore.

Asia Pacific Maritime, Singapore’s first large in-person maritime and shipping conference since the Covid-19 pandemic began, tested the water in mid-March.

It is said to have attracted more than 7,000 visitors — roughly half the number of the previous event in 2018 — from Asia and beyond, with more than 250 exhibitors from 27 countries.

Organised by RX Singapore, the conference and exhibition introduced features such as contactless registration as part of its efforts to reduce physical touchpoints.

“Despite the advent of digital in the last two years, we know that it complements but will never replace face-to-face engagement. Nothing builds stronger relationships than in-person interactions,” said Yip Je Choong, managing director of RX.

The annual Singapore Maritime Week staged its return in early April, featuring a packed agenda of online and live conferences and seminars over five days.

TradeWinds is also set to resume its physical conferences in Singapore with a shipowners’ forum in mid-May at the Marina Bay Sands. It will be the official shipping forum of Singapore International Ferrous Week.

Keynote speakers already lined up include Berge Bulk chief executive James Marshall, the Baltic Exchange’s Mark Jackson, Anglo-American global head of shipping Peter Lye and Synergy Marine Group chief executive Rajesh Unni.

Singapore’s move to relax restrictions comes as it takes decisive steps to live with Covid-19.

The country’s reopening has been slower than in other parts of the world, such as Europe and the US, where wearing face masks and social distancing have been mostly dropped after the best part of two years.

But since 1 April 2022, fully vaccinated people from all parts of the world have been able to visit Singapore by air or sea without undergoing quarantine or testing on arrival.