Singapore has retained its top spot 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 per cent 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 15.5 million visitors who generated SIN$ 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 SIN$ 5.5 billion.
Neeta Lachmandas, assistant chief executive, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said, “We are once again, privileged to have earned the confidence and trust of meeting planners and delegates. One of our current priorities is to work closely with the event organisers and partners in related industries to provide an even more seamless and enjoyable overall experience for our business visitors. Whether it’s exclusive airline and airport benefits or instilling social responsibility towards the environment, we are aiming to strengthen our meetings ecosystem and offer a smooth and efficient experience for our visitors.”
Singapore’s international appeal, strategic location and access to key Asian markets are the keys reasons for organisers to hold their events in this country. In 2013, Singapore hosted 12 world congresses and several key meetings in 2013, including some 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.
To assist event organisers for their Singapore event, STB continues to work closely with the industry players to provide value and customised support. One recent example is the partnership with Singapore Airlines and the Changi Airport Group to launch the Singapore MICE Advantage Programme (SMAP) in October 2013. With SMAP, business event organisers 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 programme also complements STB’s business events in Singapore (BEiS) incentive scheme. Since the launch of SMAP, 32 applications from business event organisers have been received.
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.”