Singapore spurs on MICE travel

Singapore is widely acknowledged as a leading destination for Business Travel, Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions or BTMICE. Ranked the world’s second Top Convention City, as well as Asia’s Top Convention City by the International Convention and Congress Association, Singapore has also retained the position of Asia’s Top Convention City in the Union of International Associations’ 2005 rankings - a position it has held for the last 23 years.

And for the first time, Singapore has moved up to fourth position globally.

To encourage Middle Eastern and other business travellers to stage or expand their business events in Singapore, the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau - a group of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), has launched a new set of initiatives to help drive the growth, volume and calibre of business events staged in the country.

The initiatives aim to rally the MICE (Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions) industry to meet the targets envisioned for the Business Travel and MICE (BTMICE) sector in the Tourism 2015 strategic blueprint and to establish Singapore as the ideas exchange capital of the world.

With the MICE landscape expected to transform due to new developments such as the Marina Bay Sands and the re-development of the Marina Bay area into an integrated, compact and vibrant MICE location offering 200,000sqm of convention and exhibition space as well as appealing leisure options, the stage is set for the STB to partner the industry to aggressively attract, create and grow business events.

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Mr Ke-Wei Peh, Area Director for the Middle East and Africa, Singapore Tourism Board, said: ‘Singapore is continually reinventing herself. Already equipped with world-class convention and exhibition facilities and accommodation, event organisers will have even more choices with the completion of the Marina Bay Sands by 2009.

‘Singapore is also a city of entertainment where delegates can unwind and have a good time. Look beyond the facade of business and you’ll discover endless, unforgettable experiences awaiting you in this dynamic city - rich in contrast and colour but with a harmonious blend of cultures, cuisines, arts and architecture.’

The BTMICE sector accounted for approximately 30 per cent or S$3 billion of total tourism receipts in 2004. STB aims to increase its contribution to at least 35 per cent or S$10.5 billion by 2015 at an average annual growth rate of 15 per cent over the next ten years.

The STB’s new business strategy for the MICE industry will involve close collaboration between agencies and industry partners within key economic clusters to create, grow and attract business events that are integral to Singapore’s economy. These include clusters such as biomedial sciences, ICT and digital media, environment and water technologies, banking and finance, transportation and logistics and tourism.

The STB is also committing S$170 million out of the S$2 billion Tourism Development Fund to finance the development of business events over the next five years (2006-2010).

Called ‘BE in Singapore’ or ‘Business Events in Singapore’, the incentive scheme supports the evolving and varied needs of the MICE industry. The scheme empowers the industry to attract, bid for and grow a sustainable volume of strategic business to support the development of key clusters that make up Singapore’s economic base.

To encourage more business events, special funding will be provided to anchor more corporate meetings and incentive travel events over a period of three years, while special funding will also be provided for new strategic conferences held in Singapore for at least three presentations.

‘BE in Singapore’ will now also apply to foreign entities. Previously, funding was only applicable if the event organiser had a local registered entity in the country. This has now been relaxed to facilitate more international event organisers to bring international business events to Singapore, in line with world-wide MICE industry practice.

To complement the scheme, International Organisations (IOs) will be encouraged to establish their Asia/Pacific base in Singapore. Singapore is currently home to 43 IOs. With a greater number of IOs in the country, it will help create greater sector vibrancy, increase Singapore’s standing in the international community and generate more business events.

And to entrench Singapore’s value proposition as the catalyst to business success, the STB will embark on a three-year global marketing and advertising campaign for the MICE industry, revolving around the tagline, ‘Singapore, Where Great Things Happen’.

It will showcase Singapore as a MICE destination of choice which not only offers world-class venues to suit all kinds of business events, but also provides the platform for a rewarding exchange of ideas, networking and business prospects.
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