Singapore has retained its position as Asia’s Top Convention City for 12 years running, according to the latest Global Rankings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). In 2013, Singapore hosted a record 175 ICCA events, a 16.7 percent increase from 150 in 2012, achieving the strongest year-on-year growth since 2005.
The accolade comes on the back of a stellar year for Singapore tourism as the country welcomed a record 15.5 million visitors who generated S$23.5 billion in tourism receipts.
There was also robust performance in the Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry. In 2013, BTMICE visitor arrivals hit 3.5 million with an estimated expenditure of S$5.5 billion.
Singapore’s international appeal, strategic location and access to key Asian markets were keys reasons why organizers held their events in Singapore. In 2013, Singapore hosted 12 world congresses and several key meetings in 2013, including some first-in- Asia or Singapore events such as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)’s World Library and Information Congress which attracted 3,900 top international librarians from 114 countries to Singapore over eight days, at its 79th IFLA General Conference and Assembly in August 2013. This congress generated the highest attendance among library congresses held in Asia.
“We are once again, privileged to have earned the confidence and trust of meeting planners and delegates,” commented Ms. Neeta Lachmandas, Assistant Chief Executive of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). “But we are not resting on our laurels. One of our current priorities is to work closely with the event organizers and partners in related industries to provide an even more seamless and enjoyable overall experience for our business visitors.”
Through public-private collaborations, Singapore continues to build a robust pipeline of events. Upcoming first-in-Asia events taking place in Singapore this year include the 9th International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing (ISSNIP), International Bar Association Corporate Governance Conference, Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA) Conference as well as International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS).
Working with stakeholders to provide value for delegates
To assist event organizers for their Singapore event, STB continues to work closely with the industry players to provide value and customized support. One recent example is the partnership with Singapore Airlines and the Changi Airport Group to launch the Singapore MICE Advantage Program (SMAP) in October 2013. With SMAP, business event organizers and meeting planners can look forward to smoother event planning and operations while MICE visitors travelling to Singapore can enjoy exclusive airline and airport benefits. The program also complements STB’s Business Events in Singapore (BEiS) incentive scheme. Since the launch of SMAP, 32 applications from business event organizers have been received.
With corporate clients and delegates becoming increasingly concerned about the environment, business event organizers and meeting planners are turning to destinations and venues with strong sustainability policies in place. To meet these emerging visitor needs, STB launched the Sustainability Guidelines in November 2013 to encourage local MICE players to adopt sustainable practices. These Guidelines are referenced from international standards such as ISO 20121 and the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards. One industry member that has surpassed the guidelines is Marina Bay Sands. It is the first MICE facility in South East Asia to be awarded the ISO 20121 Sustainable Events Management System certification and is the first venue outside of the U.S.A to obtain the Apex/ASTM Level 1 certification for sustainable meetings in 2013.
Ms. Lachmandas concludes, “We need to continue to innovate and deliver more value to keep pace with the rising expectations and evolving needs of today’s consumers. Hence, initiatives and developments such as our SMAP and Sustainability Guidelines are designed to significantly enhance the overall visitor experience. With the collective efforts of STB and our industry stakeholders, Singapore can grow this important industry further and attract more quality events and delegates for years to come.”