Singapore joins meetings top three

Singapore is now ranked among the world’s top three cities for meetings, based on the Union of International Associations’ latest rankings, hence bolstering its position as an exchange capital of the world.In the UIA’s International Meetings Statistics 2006 report, Singapore moved up one place from 2005 to third position in the Top International Meeting City category, placing it among the top three for the first time, and alongside well-established European cities that host international meetings, namely Paris (ranked 1st) and Vienna (2nd).

At the same time, Singapore topped the rankings in Asia, as Asia’s top country and city for meetings.  Singapore surged from fourth to first position, as Asia’s Top Country for Meetings, while maintaining its standing as Asia’s Top City for Meetings, a position it has held for the past 23 years.

The strong showing by Singapore serves as a resounding endorsement of its strengths and continued draw as a business destination.  In clinching the position as Asia’s top country for meetings, Singapore cements its position as the preferred destination in Asia for business travellers to hold their meetings.

Last year saw Singapore hosting 298 meetings that met UIA’s qualifying criteria, representing a significant 62 per cent growth over 2005.  Most notable among these were the 2006 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in September.  An important milestone in Singapore’s calendar of events, the 2006 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank saw 16,000 foreign delegates converge in Singapore to attend various meetings and business events.

Indeed, Singapore has shown an impressive growth in the number of meetings held here, which more than doubled in the past five years, even as the number of meetings held in Asia dipped by two per cent over the same period.  This has effectively doubled Singapore’s share of the Asian market, resulting in it accounting for 22 per cent of all meetings held in Asia in 2006.

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Singapore’s sterling results over the past five years, particularly in 2006, comes at a time when the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB), a group of the Singapore Tourism Board, is ramping up its efforts to capture a bigger slice of the Business Travel and Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) market, with aggressive targets to raise the tourism receipts of the BTMICE sector from £1.3 billion in 2006 to £3.5 billion by 2015.

As part of the efforts to spur the growth of the sector, the SECB launched the “BE in Singapore” or “Business Events in Singapore” incentive scheme in August 2006.  The incentive scheme, developed in consultation with the industry, enables the local MICE industry to competitively bid for and attract a critical mass of business events to sustain a robust business pipeline.

The SECB has also adopted a new business strategy which entails close partnership with other Singapore government agencies in growing, attracting and creating business events that are centred on the nation’s key economic drivers and initiatives, complementing the development plan of these sectors, creating buzz and strengthening the strategic position of Singapore as the exchange capital for each cluster.

Said Mr Aloysius Arlando, Assistant Chief Executive (Business Travel and MICE Group), STB: “We are very honoured to be ranked among the top three cities internationally, and to emerge as the Top Country for Meetings in Asia while maintaining our position for the 24th consecutive year as Asia’s Top City.  These rankings by the well-respected Union of International Associations further validate and reinforce the strong performance of the industry last year which accounted for 28 per cent or 3 million of total visitor arrivals to Singapore, and 35 per cent or £1.3 billion of total tourism receipts.”

“This robust performance and the dynamic MICE landscape in Singapore is a resounding testament of the strong cooperation and close partnership between the public and private sector, including government agencies and the MICE industry players, and I’m confident that the buoyant outlook of the industry will continue, especially with the vibrant calendar of business events in the pipeline, and many exciting tourism developments in the coming years,” he added.
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