Positive Outlook for Singapore’s MICE Market

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Undeterred by the global economic downturn, Singapore continues to attract a robust pipeline of business events, attesting to its stature as a premier business events destination in Asia.

One area which the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB), a group of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), is actively bidding for is conferences and these efforts are bearing fruit.

Singapore was given the thumbs-up by the World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) which will be holding its 15th conference in Singapore for the first time in 2012.

With one of the lowest smoking rates in the world, Singapore is recognised as a global leader in tobacco control and hosting the conference will allow Singapore to take on a greater leadership role in building capacity and facilitating collaboration in tobacco control in the Southeast Asian region.

The WCTOH is expected to attract more than 2,000 experts on smoking cessation to Singapore.

Singapore has also successfully attracted new conventions such as the International Conference on Emergency Medicine (ICEM) in 2010, which is expected to attract more than 2,000 emergency room professionals to Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre for a series of lectures, symposia and panel discussions. This marks the first time that the event is held in Asia since the biennial conferences began in 1986.

“Singapore was selected for the conference because of its excellent business location, geographical accessibility, originality in approach to scientific content, exceptional conference facilities and the invaluable support from various organisations, including the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB),” said Professor V Anantharaman, Chairman of the ICEM Organising Committee.

One notable event in the association meetings pipeline is UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, which recently announced that it would be staging the 77th UFI Congress in Singapore.

The event will welcome UFI members from over 50 countries to Singapore’s new integrated resort, the Marina Bay Sands, in November 2010 for a series of UFI meetings including the Annual General Assembly and the UFI Board of Directors Meeting.

Singapore last hosted the UFI Congress in 1994. UFI’s decision to return to Singapore affirms its appeal as a business events destination.

There are also selective opportunities in the tradeshow segment and the SECB continues to work closely with business events industry partners and Singapore government agencies to attract new shows to Singapore, such as IFAI Expo Asia 2011, the inaugural Asian edition of the Industrial Fabric Association International’s tradeshow in the United States. The first-ever IFAI Expo Asia is expected to attract some 100 exhibitors from countries such as South Korea, China and Australia.

Singapore will also welcome the return of JIAM in 2011. JIAM, the International Apparel Machinery Trade Show, is one of the world’s top three major apparel machinery trade fairs.

Held at Singapore Expo, the inaugural show in 2008 was the first to be held outside of Japan, and it showcased the latest in apparel manufacturing and machinery and attracted international participants and apparel manufacturing industry experts from around the region.

Looking at the immediate horizon, in 2009, Singapore will welcome some 13,000 dental professionals to the FDI Dental Congress, which will be held at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre in September 2009. The 2009 Congress is expected to be the biggest that the FDI will hold.

In September, Singapore will also host the inaugural Spikes Asia – 1st Asian Advertising Festival, created by the organisers of the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

At the same time, Singapore continues to grow and build on the success of signature, tent-pole events which showcase the success of the SECB’s Strategic Clusters Approach, such as the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) and BioMedical Asia.

This year will also see the return of ITB Asia, the Asian edition of the world’s largest travel trade show, ITB Berlin. Many of the exhibitors in ITB Asia 2008 will be returning for the 2009 event and exhibitor registrations have been flowing in steadily for this year’s show.

Ms Whey Whey Ng, Messe Berlin (Singapore) General Manager said, “The demand for exhibitor space at ITB Asia 2009 is exceeding our expectations. We look forward to welcoming leading brands in the travel industry in Asia attending this year’s show. Visitors can also expect a better mix of country NTOs, more presence from North Asia and a stronger focus on meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions at ITB Asia 2009. In addition, this year’s show will also consist of a technology and knowledge forum focused on solutions and hands-on best practice workshops for delegates.”

Meanwhile, Singapore is gearing up for new tourism developments coming onstream which will provide more possibilities and offer a wider spectrum of business, leisure and entertainment venues and activities for business events visitors, such as the two Integrated Resorts, the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World at Sentosa opening end 2009 and 2010 respectively, the Marina Bay Financial Centre which will be up and running in 2010, and Gardens by the Bay which will welcome the world in 2011.

Coupled with recent new additions to the tourism landscape, including Marina Barrage, Capella Singapore, Park Hotel Clarke Quay and the upcoming Movenpick Treasure Resort Singapore, and the upcoming 2009 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, these myriad offerings and events will collectively help raise Singapore’s appeal as a destination for business and leisure visitors alike.

In a bid to mitigate the impact of the challenging global business climate, the SECB has enhanced the “Business Events in Singapore” or “BE in Singapore” incentive scheme to help business events organisers defray a higher proportion of events’ project costs by providing a greater scope of funding support.

The SECB has also embarked on an attendance-building campaign to drive business events visitorship in 2009 and grow Singapore’s market share within this segment. Under this initiative, SECB will work with key business event organisers to strengthen the programming of their events and jointly promote these events in key regional markets.

Under the “2009 Reasons to Meet in Singapore” campaign, the SECB in collaboration with Singapore hotel partners, have launched attractive accommodation and meetings deals for business travellers including special promotions that encourage them to spend an extra day to explore Singapore and bring along a partner to enjoy the destination’s exciting attractions and leisure offerings. During their stay, business delegates and their partners can also enjoy special F&B and retail promotions.

“The SECB will continue to work with our industry partners to ensure that secured business events occurring within the next two years can be realised, while at the same time, encouraging Singapore industry players to build alliances with international players so as to attract more strategic business events to be staged in Singapore. Through international and industry-wide collaboration, we are able to provide greater value to our business event clients and visitors,” said Ms Melissa Ow, Assistant Chief Executive, Business Travel and MICE Group, STB.

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