Singapore’s MICE industry poised to “advance faster in next 10 years”

Bullish predictions and possibilities ahead as industry leaders gathered to mark milestones in SACEOS’ 40th Anniversary

SACEOS president Aloysius Arlando predicted that Singapore's MICE industry is poised to "advance faster in the next 10 years than it has before". (Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria)

SINGAPORE - As it enters the new decade, Singapore's MICE industry is poised to "advance faster in the next 10 years than it has before", said SACEOS president Aloysius Arlando.

Mr Arlando made the bold prediction as he charted the industry's future possibilities yesterday (Jan 16) at an industry gathering commemorating the association's 40th anniversary and a new brand unveil for venue provider SingEx.

"New technologies are enabling greater efficiency and more collaborative operating models. New entrants such as start-ups or the industry's own customers and suppliers, are also shaking up the sector," he said.

This has impacted business events globally, with industry players in Singapore coming up with event formats that are multi-formatted, or hybridised, with elements of exhibitions, plenaries, hackathons, digital interfaces and festivalisation.

Modular meetings venue FleX can be set up in multiple configurations for breakouts and meetings. (Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria)

Social purpose and sustainable practices are another key area of focus for the industry, with events becoming seen more as platforms to forge and deepen collaboration across industries and engagement with communities.

These new possibilities are fruits of the industry's efforts to band together four decades ago, creating SACEOS, which was started by a team of industry professionals with the support of SECB, then helmed by Jenny Chua.

The association has been credited with rallying the public and private sector to grow the industry into an effective economic contributor and put Singapore on the global MICE map.

With more than 5,000 Asia Pacific headquarters of SME and global MNC companies located in Singapore, this has helped the country grow its share of corporate meetings, incentive travel, enterprise-specific regional congresses.

Highlighting SACEOS' role as a "multiplier" for the MICE industry, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat affirmed that Singapore's MICE industry "has been performing well with strong potential for further growth" despite muted global economic growth and geopolitical tensions.

In 2018, the industry generated approximately S$3.8 billion, or approximately 0.8% of Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP).

This year, key events taking place include the Millionaire Club Indonesia's 10th Anniversary Event in April with an expected attendance of 8,500 delegates, 142nd Trademark Association Annual Meeting, the region's first Southeast Asian edition and World Aquaculture, a first for Singapore, with an estimated turnout of 20,000 delegates and 103rd Lions Club International Convention, Singapore's largest association convention to date.

Several inaugural trade exhibitions are also planned for 2020, such as gamescom asia, and Food&Hotel Asia, which has evolved into two shows, one for hospitality and one for the F&B industry. The Singapore Air Show and International Water Week will also be held this year.

To sustain long-term growth, Singapore will continue to drive capability development and innovation.

To this end, Singapore Tourism Board is to launch a S$2 million fund to build a pipeline of new events anchored in Singapore, with the fund going towards supporting initiatives and partnerships with leading event organisers such as Clarion, MPI and SingEx.

To meet the new generation of meetings, venue provider SingEx have unveiled a new suite of facilities and services, which it dubs Expo2.0.

This includes modular meetings structure FleX with sustainable elements, plenary hall ApeX with high-tech features such as telescopic seating and 54m-wide screen, in-house event planning service Xpert and new central kitchen with R&D capabilities and farm-to-table cuisine.

Singapore Expo is poised to host at least 750 business events, of which many will be new to market and to Singapore, attracting around one million visitors from the region and around the world, according to STB projections.

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