1. Strategic location and accessibility
Singapore’s extensive global trade and communications networks provide market access and trade flows to Asia Pacific and the world. Singapore is one of Asia’s main air, sea and telecommunications hubs with market access to some 4 billion people within a 7-hour flight radius. Positioned in the middle of the fast-growing and emerging Asia-Pacific markets of China, India and ASEAN, business travellers can easily convene in Singapore, with more than 100 international airlines flying to some 300 cities in about 70 countries and territories worldwide. Changi Airport was also named, for the sixth time, the World’s Best Airport at the 2015 Skytrax World Airport Awards.
Beyond air and sea connectivity, Singapore’s extensive trade links also provide companies with greater market connectivity through the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers. The Republic, with a network of 20 regional bilateral FTAs with 31 trading partners, currently has the most extensive network of free trade agreements (FTAs) in Asia. Agreements have been signed with key economies such as United States of America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, members of the European Free Trade Association, Jordan, China, Chile, South Korea, India and Panama.
In the area of information communications, the country’s broadband network reaches 99 per cent of the population. International and regional connectivity now stands at 27.6 Tbps to more than 100 countries.
2. Pro-business environment
The presence of more than 7,000 multinational companies, of which about 4,000 have located their regional headquarters in Singapore, together with a government supportive of nurturing businesses, contribute to a dynamic business environment. The introduction of co-investment and seed funding programmes further fosters an environment in which ideas can be turned into businesses easily and profitably.
Strong trade and investment makes Singapore the second most competitive country in the world and Asia-Pacific’s most competitive country (World Economic Forum’s Global Competiveness Report 2015 – 2016). The World Bank has ranked the Republic for the 9th time as the World’s easiest place to do business (Doing Business 2015 Report) and the Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Singapore as having the best Business Environment in Asia Pacific (EIU Business Environment Rankings 2014).
Singapore is known for integrity, quality, reliability, productivity, rule of law, and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights – assets essential in the knowledge economy. The country has placed a great deal of commitment into developing a strong domestic regulatory framework to protect IP rights. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015 – 2016 ranks the island as having the best IP protection in Asia, and the fourth in the world.
3. Strong Knowledge Economy
Singapore is the home base of thought-leadership and innovation with unique strengths in knowledge-based and knowledge-driven industries such as banking & finance, biomedical sciences, ICT & media, energy and environment, as well as transport & security. Singapore has also successfully grown its R&D base, drawing top scientific and creative talent and nurtured R&D collaborations between the public sector and private enterprise.
In addition, Singapore is home to around 140 International Non-Profit Organisations (INPOs) including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The World Bank Group, Tax Free World Association (TFWA), International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI), and International Air Transport Association (IATA)- a number that has more than quadrupled since 2005.
These factors draw international thought leaders, high-level government officials, and international personalities for the exchange of ideas and insights. Some of the notable events that have attracted distinguished international thought leaders include the Global Young Scientist Summit 2014, SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference 2013, Young Presidents’ Organization World Leadership Summit 2012, the annual Russia Singapore Business Forum held in Singapore since 2006, and the APEC Meeting 2009, to name a few.
4. Partner in innovation
Building on our core attributes of knowledge and networks, Singapore is well-positioned as the ideal partner for event organisers to co-create innovative and winning solutions for the future. SECB works closely with relevant government agencies as well as trade associations and academic/research institutions to provide the critical factors for our partners’ success.
Singapore was recently named most innovative city in Asia Pacific by corporate advisory group, Solidiance. The survey ranked cities according to human talent, knowledge creation, technology, government and global integration. For more information, please visit Asia Innovative cities.
5. Professionalism and experience
Singapore prides itself on its efficiency as well as the professional services that the local industry can provide to business events organised here. SECB also works together with industry partners to provide a customised solution for each event. With Singapore’s good infrastructure and business efficiency, event organisers can run their business events with greater confidence of success.
Singapore’s healthy MICE ecosystem is home to a wide range of experienced Professional Convention Organisers (PCOs), Professional Exhibition Organisers (PEOs), Associations, suppliers (booth stand contractors), venue operators, and local MICE industry association, the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS) , who are well-versed in organising MICE events in Singapore.
6. Sustainability in the MICE Industry
Recognising a growing concern on the environmental impact of tourism, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is placing stronger commitment to protect our environment. Within the MICE industry, event organisers are also seeking to reduce their carbon footprint through efforts such as using recyclable badges, lanyards from sustainable materials, providing recycling bins on site as well using mobile platforms versus printed materials. Venues are also making efforts to undertake environmentally-friendly practices, as they recognise that such endeavours, other than reducing the carbon footprint that their event leaves, also significantly enhance the overall event visitor experience, bringing about intangible benefits.
STB will also continue our efforts to collaborate with the local industry to develop strong sustainability policies and practices. For the MICE sector, STB commissioned MCI to conduct a sustainability industry audit and benchmarking study on the MICE industry. This resulted in the development of sustainability guidelines which will serve as a reference guide for MICE industry players who are keen to adopt sustainable practices.
Launched in November 2013, the Sustainability Guidelines are referenced from international standards such as the ISO 20121 Sustainable Events Management System and the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards, and geared towards those who are keen to adopt sustainable practices. Through these guidelines, the STB also hoped to encourage local MICE players to meet global sustainability requirements.
7. Extensive variety of venues
Singapore offers an excellent range of state-of-the-art convention centres, exhibition halls, and meeting venues for MICE that suit a variety of needs and budgets. These venues not only offer first-rate conference and meeting facilities, but also the convenience of a wide range of accommodation, food, shopping, entertainment, and other lifestyle options in close proximity.
The Marina Bay Sands® Expo & Convention Centre, Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre and the Singapore EXPO with its MAX Atria wing, are suitable for large-scale international exhibitions and conferences.
To meet the growing trend of corporate clients and delegates being increasingly more concerned about sustainability and the impacts that events have on the environment, more venues in Singapore are incorporating sustainable practices into their facilities. For example, Marina Bay Sands® received the honour of being Singapore’s first ISO 20121 certified venue and the first event and conference venue outside America to receive Level One certification by ASTM International that signifies its standing as a sustainable venue. MAX Atria, designed to bring nature “inside” and meetings “outside”, was the first convention venue to obtain the prestigious the Building and Construction Authority (BCA)’s Green Mark Platinum Award.
Together with the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Conference Centre, Raffles City Convention Centre, and Resorts WorldTM Sentosa, these venues offer world class conference and meeting facilities, as well as nearby accommodations and dining. Smaller venues are also available for more intimate gatherings, while unconventional spaces including theatres, gardens and even the “fountain of wealth” at Suntec Singapore, can be utilized for meetings, incentive group activities, and other corporate events.
Some of Singapore’s attractions also meet the growing demand for more interesting and non-traditional meeting venues and experiences outside of the conventional board room and hotel meeting facilities. Some attractions that integrate MICE facilities together with unique leisure offerings include the S.E.A. AquariumTM, River Safari, Gardens by the Bay, ArtScience MuseumTM, Universal Studios Singapore®, Goodman Arts Centre to name a few. These venues make for interesting backdrops for team building activities or learning journeys that may be incorporated within the meeting programmes, allowing organisers to come up with creative programmes that result in a differentiated delegate experience.
8. Extensive choice in accommodation
With more than 390 hotels and over 60,000 rooms, there is an answer to every budget and preference – from no-frills accommodation to boutique hotels, modern business hotels and luxury beach resorts. Most hotels offer fully-equipped business centres, meeting facilities, broadband Internet access and other conveniences for business travellers.
9. Exhilarating mix of business and leisure activities
Singapore offers a unique concentration of different leisure experiences to enhance one’s business trip, from its distinctive cultures and dining experiences, to a vibrant arts scene and world class shopping venues.
From the big swanky malls in Orchard Road, Singapore’s main shopping precinct, to the smaller boutiques in Haji Lane or Ann Siang Road, and even culture shopping precincts in Kampong Glam, Joo Chiat and Little India, Singapore has a variety of shopping choices throughout the island to suit all shoppers’ needs.
The integrated resorts have also contributed to our MICE infrastructure and added a host of unique venue options which include a Marine Life ParkTM, Maritime Experiential MuseumTM, ArtScience MuseumTM as well as the Sands SkyPark®. Singapore can now offer enhanced experiences with innovative meeting concepts, ranging from incentive group meetings at Universal Studios Singapore® theme park to post-meeting entertainment with long-running Broadway shows, and fine-dining with celebrity chefs.
For example, the Scavenger Hunt Team Building Programme held in the region’s first world-class movie theme park, Universal Studios Singapore®, creates a unique and dynamic team bonding experience. Participants get to go on a “mission” that takes from the streets of New York to the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. This team building package revolves around Universal Studios Singapore® suitable for groups 20 persons and above. It comes with a choice of 3 levels and plays on puns and words that revolve around all things related and found at Universal Studios Singapore®. Complimentary Scavenger Hunt themed group photos are also provisioned. Since the package was rolled out in late 2011, they have hosted more than 80 Scavenger Hunts for their MICE clients, including Novartis Singapore, Hermes Singapore and Prudential Assurance Co. Singapore. Group sizes vary, from tens to hundreds.
A nation of food enthusiasts, the city’s culinary landscape has evolved tremendously in recent years and has expanded in range and variety. Beyond the astounding variety of authentic street food, and emerging new and innovative dining concepts at an extensive range of price points, Singapore is also home to interesting venues that provide hands on culinary experiences. Establishments such as 2AM Lab, Palate Sensations, ToTTs, and Coriander Leaf conduct programmes and classes for corporate groups. In Singapore, where food forms a central part of its culture and is always accessible no matter where you are, the itinerary for a culinary incentive trip would easily integrate conventional incentive activities like sightseeing and team-building programmes, with unique dining experiences.
Beyond food, corporate groups can also enjoy wine and coffee appreciation courses in the city. Companies offering such courses include Wine & Co. Consulting and Highlander Coffee Academy.