Singapore continues to reign as top meeting city

3 September 2009

Singapore consolidates its position as the world’s preferred business events destination by clinching the top spot in the “Top International Meeting City” category in the Union of International Associations (UIA) 2008 Global Rankings for the second consecutive year.

In the UIA’s International Meetings Statistics 2008 report, Singapore also moved one notch up from 2007 to third position in the “Top International Meeting Countries” category behind USA (ranked 1st) and France (2nd).

“In the updated figures for 2004-2008 released this year, the rise of Singapore in the international organisations meeting market is a noteworthy feature. In 2004, Singapore stood at a respectable 10th place in the “Top International Meeting City” category. In 2005 it climbed to 8th place, and jumped to 4th place in 2006. In 2007 it rose to first place, with almost 30% more meetings than the city in second place. In 2008 it has not only maintained its position in first place, it has increased its margin to 50% more meetings than the second-ranked city,” said Mr Jacques de Mevius, Secretary-General, UIA.

Singapore edged out strong competitors to top the rankings in Asia, securing the title of Asia’s top country and city for meetings for the 25th consecutive year. This heavyweight industry accolade attests to the strengths and sustained appeal of the city, enabling it to consistently emerge ahead of the pack in Asia.

"This ranking adds another feather to our cap and underscores Singapore’s reputation as an exchange capital of the world where people, ideas and technology converge to generate business success. Singapore’s sterling performance in the UIA 2008 rankings was made possible by the combination of strong business fundamentals, sound business strategies and the unstinting support of our industry partners,” says Ms Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Singapore hosted 637 meetings last year that met UIA’s qualifying criteria, representing a significant 36 per cent growth over 2007. Notable meetings include the International Thalassaemia Conference 2008, ISNCC 15th International Conference on Cancer Nursing 2008, the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference and the IEEE Electronics Packaging Technology Conference 2008 which cumulatively attracted over 5,000 visitors to Singapore.

Over the past years, Singapore’s meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry has proven its mettle with an impressive growth in the number of meetings held here. As a destination, Singapore accounted for 26.5 per cent of the meetings held in the Asian continent in 2008, up from 22.5 per cent in 2007.

According to Mr de Mevius, “The Union of International Associations recognizes Singapore as an increasingly strong market leader in international associations meetings, as is shown in this year's UIA statistics report.”

Said Ms Melissa Ow, Assistant Chief Executive, Business Travel and MICE Group, STB: “These accolades, which signify a high benchmark of excellence, come at an opportune time as they put Singapore in a strong position to further expand our share of the global business events market by partnering with MICE industry players to attract and develop successful business events centred around major growth industries in Singapore and the region. Through these efforts, I am confident that we can continue to sustain a robust business event pipeline for the coming years, and take bold strides towards elevating Singapore’s position as an exchange capital of the world.”

Beyond this collaborative model with stakeholders and in the face of the current economic climate, the SECB intensified its efforts to catalyse business success by enhancing the “BE in Singapore” or “Business Events in Singapore” (BEIS) incentive scheme in February this year, under the Building on Opportunities to Strengthen Tourism (BOOST) campaign.

The enhanced BEIS provides a greater scope of support for event organisers and meeting planners and includes helping them to defray the costs of bringing in top-tier international speakers. Examples of upcoming key business events that BEIS has supported include the 77th UFI Congress, the International Council on Commercial Arbitration Conference 2012, and the World Congress on Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology 2015.

To boost Singapore’s market share of the global business events industry and to further strengthen this leadership position, the SECB launched the “2009 Reasons to meet in Singapore” attendance-building campaign to drive business events visitorship in 2009. Targeting business travellers, the campaign offers a Business Pack comprising value deals for hotel accommodation, meetings and leisure offerings, including executive health screening packages and special deals to encourage business delegates to bring along their partners when they travel to Singapore for business.

The “2009 Reasons to meet in Singapore” campaign facilitates opportunities for business delegates to experience Singapore’s business and leisure offerings, underlining the city’s proposition of being the ideal place to work, live and play.

Besides this marketing campaign, Singapore will host an exciting calendar of business events this year. The FDI World Dental Congress, to be held in September 2009, is expected to attract some 13,000 dental professionals from all over the world. Singapore will also host the second edition of ITB Asia, where leading names in the travel trade industry will congregate, as well as to welcome international delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2009 meetings.

In recent years, Singapore has ramped up its leisure and entertainment offerings, such as the FORMULA 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, adding buzz and dynamism to the destination. Come 2010, business events organisers will have more options with new and exciting developments, such as the two new Integrated Resorts, Marina Bay Sand and Resorts World at Sentosa, and Gardens by the Bay, which will collectively entrench Singapore as a compelling and must-visit destination.

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