Positive outlook on the back of travel re-opening, strong pipeline of large-scale events and the launch of INSPIRE Global 2.0 programme; sustainability emerges as a dominant trend.
The business events industry in Singapore is expected to recover strongly following the city’s reopening to fully-vaccinated visitors with no quarantine and testing requirements.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is riding on that momentum by launching an enhanced incentive programme for international MICE groups. With a strong pipeline of events in 2022 and beyond, a full recovery for the MICE industry is expected in two to three years.
There are indications that industry recovery is picking up pace. Singapore hosted over 200 events attended by an estimated 49,000 delegates in 2021. In the first three months of 2022, Singapore hosted more than 150 events attended by more than 37,000 delegates. That number is set to increase, with at least 66 international events secured for the rest of 2022.
“The business community is eager for opportunities to meet and network in person again. This desire, as well as the recent easing of our border restrictions, puts the MICE industry in good stead to recover strongly,” said Yap Chin Siang, Deputy Chief Executive, STB. “We look forward to welcoming more business travellers and delegates back to our shores over the next few years, and we hope that the curated experiences under INSPIRE Global 2.0 will encourage visitors to enjoy all that Singapore has to offer.”
Under the In Singapore Incentives & Rewards (INSPIRE Global 2.0) programme by STB, qualified MICE groups can look forward to new experiences from dining and attractions to thematic tours and team building. They can choose from a selection of close to 80 complementary experiences that delegates can enjoy in Singapore – an increase from 54 experiences that were introduced under INSPIRE Global 1.0.
STB will also continue offering assistance schemes to attract MICE events to Singapore. One example is the Business Events in Singapore (BEiS) scheme, which encourages the business events industry to innovate and anchor quality events in Singapore.
The positive outlook for MICE follows the recent relaxation of COVID-19 measures in Singapore, such as removing group size and event capacity limits. Since April 2022, Singapore has welcomed all vaccinated travellers with no quarantine and testing requirements. These changes have made it more convenient for the world to meet in Singapore and stage larger events with greater opportunities for networking and other interactions.
In January 2022, Singapore received the 2022 Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Chair’s Award for contributing to the business events industry last year. PCMA highlighted STB’s work and agility in supporting Singapore’s safe reopening of business events. Besides supporting the development of an industry resilience roadmap to provide guidance on safety management measures and best practices, STB provided training grants to upskill industry professionals and kept the destination top of mind as the preferred international business events destination through various marketing campaigns.
A robust pipeline of events
This year marks the much-anticipated return of marquee international events, including Food and Hotel Asia – Food & Beverage (5–8 Sept) and Food and Hotel Asia – Food & Beverage and Food and Hotel Asia – HoReCa (25-28 Oct). The events are expected to attract more than 30,000 physical attendees each. Singapore will also welcome a slew of new events this year, including the Global Health Security Conference 2022 (28 Jun-1 Jul) and Cosmoprof + Cosmopack Asia (16-18 Nov).
Beyond 2022, events taking place in Singapore include:
- inter airport South East Asia (IASEA), 2023
- Sea Asia 2023
- International Trademark Association (INTA)’s 2023 Annual Meeting Live+
- Gastech Exhibition & Conference, 2023
- SILMO Singapore, 2023 – 2025
- FIND – Design Fair Asia, 2023 – 2024
- transport logistic and air cargo South East Asia 2023
- Asia CEO Summit @ Singapore, 2023 – 2024
- Worldchefs Congress and Expo, 2024
- Rotary International Convention, 2024
- 110th Lions Clubs International Convention, 2028
The newly announced International Trademark Association (INTA)’s 2023 Annual Meeting Live+ will also be held in Singapore from 16 to 20 May 2023. Known as the world’s largest trademark event, thousands of brand owners and intellectual property (IP) professionals from more than 100 countries will gather in Singapore to learn, network and discuss issues of interest to IP professionals, government officials, consumers, and society at large. The Singapore edition in 2023 marks the second time INTA is bringing its Annual Meeting to Asia, and the first time the event is being hosted in Southeast Asia.
Global Professional Exhibition Organisers (PEOs) are also expanding their teams in Singapore, as they deepen their presence in the region and anchor new events in the city-state. For example, MMI Asia and dmg events Asia increased their staff strength to handle the anticipated growth in new events across physical, digital and hybrid formats.
“Throughout 2020 and 2021, our strategy has been to continue forging valuable connections for our communities and audiences through digital and hybrid events. Our customers, audiences and stakeholders have given us their full support and commitment as we return to operating our growing portfolio of events in Singapore and Asia. In Singapore, we look forward to hosting FIND – Design Fair Asia in September 2022 and Gastech 2023. With the positive sentiment, the return to the operation of live in-person events and dmg’s portfolio growth, we are really pleased to be able to grow our teams based in our regional HQ here in Singapore,” said Mel Shah, Vice President, dmg events Asia.
A sustainable way to meet
As consumers become more aware of the impact of their purchases, travel and meetings, professionals demand more sustainable options when planning business events. Ready, get set, go green! – a new white paper released by STB and American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) – looks at key trends of green meetings and events, the role a destination plays and how travel and meetings planners can measure a destination’s sustainability.
According to findings from a study that was carried out by Amex GBT’s Global Business Consulting group, travel and meetings professionals encourage travellers to practise 8 ecologically responsible behaviours (listed in the following order):
- Choose energy-efficient hotels and event venues (76 per cent)
- Prioritise routes with the smallest CO2 footprint (73 per cent)
- Reduce frequency of travel (71 per cent)
- Prioritise electric vehicles over a hybrid or conventional cars (67 per cent)
- Prioritise flights using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (65 per cent)
- Give preference to sustainable food options (62 per cent)
- Prioritise public transportation (60 per cent)
- Offset emissions by investing in environmental projects (60 per cent)
A sustainable supply chain is also a major consideration, with 70 per cent of travel and meetings professionals placing high or medium importance on green certifications and credentials when selecting a supplier.
As organisations strategise to reduce their environmental impact, the white paper also offers practical tips on how they can make their meetings and events more sustainable, underlining various milestones along the sustainability journey.
Road to sustainability
STB will continue to help the industry adopt sustainability certification and green practices through the BEiS scheme.
To encourage sustainable travel, the Singapore MICE Advantage Programme (SMAP) 3.0 also includes a new sustainability focus. In partnership with key tourism partners including Singapore Airlines, Changi Airport Group, JetQuay, Sentosa Development Corporation, StarHub, Grab and NETS, the refreshed scheme offers delegates and event organisers the choice to travel sustainably through green transportation options, environmentally conscious tours, and discounted public transportation on trains and buses, among other initiatives.
Singapore’s sustainability journey is also underscored by the country’s recent participation in the GDS-Index, which builds on Singapore’s sustainability efforts under Singapore Green Plan 2030, as well as Singapore’s hosting of sustainability events such as Ecosperity, which returns for its 8th run in 2022.
The upcoming edition, themed “Accelerating Action at Scale”, will tackle issues raised at the recent United Nations Climate Change conference, and catalyse discussions on real solutions and key levers to help accelerate the energy revolution and decarbonise transport and heavy industries, and finance Asia’s green transition.