Pitching for greatness

By securing a first-mover advantage, backed by a strong government and international accolades, Singapore is able to stand proudly as a global-node for business events post-lockdown

As one of the first Asia-Pacific countries to open its borders in phases in 2021, Singapore has since hosted a fair share of tradeshows and conferences, naturally attracting pent-up demand for face-to-face events when travel was allowed.

This bodes well for the country’s business events industry, which is sporting a strong line-up of business events for 2023. Major events include FHA-Food & Beverage (April 25-28) and Herbalife APAC Extravaganza 2023 (May 19-21), while rights to notable events such as SILMO Singapore (April 12-14) and the World Conference on Lung Cancer (September 9-12) have also been secured for the first time.

Singapore (pictured) is a springboard to access new markets in Asia-Pacific

Poh Chi Chuan, executive director, exhibitions & conferences, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said: “The robust line-up of events demonstrates the industry’s confidence in Singapore’s strong fundamentals – our vibrant business culture, excellent infrastructure, stable government, and stellar track record in delivering high-quality events.”

This track record backed by the In Singapore Incentives & Rewards (INSPIRE) Global 2.0 programme and Business Events in Singapore (BEiS) scheme, both initiatives that help event organisers defray the cost of holding an event in Singapore, and assist them in the planning and execution.

Other initiatives include the launch of the MICE Sustainability Roadmap in December 2022, which sets out clear goals and strategies to raise sustainability standards across the industry.

Public-private partnerships are also crucial in Singapore’s sustainability push, which full-service event management agency Unearthed Productions, and Pan Pacific Hotels Group, are part of.

Adam Piperdy, Unearthed Productions, founder and chief experience officer, told TTGmice: “Sustainability efforts are in full swing here and we continue to study more ways we can be sustainable. For example, we started using reusable furniture (for outdoor events), such as pallets transformed into box chairs.”

The eco-friendly Parkroyal Collection Pickering

“More organisers have been moving towards sustainable destinations and venues, especially with heightened awareness from the pandemic. STB has successfully positioned Singapore as a prime hub for green meetings and events, as part of the SG Green Plan 2030,” Cinn Tan, chief sales & marketing officer, Pan Pacific Hotels Group (PPHG), added.

“With environmentally-friendly features, biophilic design and sustainable MICE packages like Meet Lite, Feels Right, our Parkroyal Collection hotels in Singapore have received high volumes of requests due to their capabilities to cater for such demand,” she elaborated.

Large-scale event organisers are also working hard to lure more events to the Lion City.

Yip Je Choong, senior vice president commercial – APAC and managing director of Singapore and Indonesia, RX Global, said: “Things are still in development, but RX currently has six marque business events planned for 2023. These include the G2E Asia 2023 Special Edition: Singapore in May, and our newest event Bar Convent Singapore, slated for November.”

To attract more events, RX works closely with STB to “bring in side events previously held in other markets to take place in conjunction with our existing pipeline of shows, or clone events within RX’s global portfolio”.

Janice Lee, event director of hospitality, F&B, Hong Kong & Singapore at Informa Markets, pointed to FHA-Food & Beverage, an annual tradeshow starting from 2023, as a materialisation of the company’s hard work. FHA-Food & Beverage’s sister show FHA-HoReCa will remain biennial.

Lee said: “(Shows like these were established) by collaborating with industry partners and associations to identify potential opportunities. We will continue to develop innovative programmes and activities to boost Singapore’s appeal as an international events destination.”

Although the global landscape is competitive, stakeholders believe that Singapore’s value proposition has not changed – a multicultural metropolis with world-class facilities and infrastructure, accessibility, an empowering business environment, and reputation for safety and security.

Piperdy noted: “Although Singapore is a world-class event destination, it has traditionally not been the most affordable place to hold an event. But being competitive has less to do with cost and more to do with the value we’re able to deliver to international event organisers.”

“To further enhance its competitiveness, Singapore should also look to develop unique experiences that will appeal to MICE customers, and work to ensure that its hotels, venues and services are cost-effective,” Lee added.

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