What are the greatest strengths of Singapore as the MICE hub of Asia. Which are the factors that have contributed in making this the biggest MICE market?
We have been known as a business city and business hub here in Singapore for a long time now, because I suppose of our origins as a trading home. Some of the attributes that make us successful as a business city is our location that gives us proximity to several markets in Asia. 200 different airlines fly into our airport. The accessibility and catchment to major cities in the world makes it very easy for business travellers to travel to Singapore. And once they come here, there is the experience of excellent infrastructure for the MICE industry and convention facilities. Marina Bay Sands has come up, Suntec is now undergoing renovations and they would be reopening in second quarter of next year and then we have Singapore Expo as well which has just opened this year a new convention facility called Max Atria, apart from other venues. Also, being a knowledge hub, the city attracts business travellers to network and gain new knowledge. To get that kind of content we work very closely with event organisers and relevant associations to ensure that the content for the events that are held here are of high quality. We have over 7000 MNCs who have offices in Singapore and close to 150 international organisations that help in bringing different business events to Singapore.
Can you reveal the statistics related to the number of visitors coming here for business events or the number of MICE events being organised here annually?
In terms of the numbers we have seen good growth. Last year we had 13.2 million visitors coming to Singapore overall, out of which about 24 per cent or 3.2 million visitors came here for business travel and MICE. They accounted for 30 per cent of our total tourism receipts that is about SGD 5.6 billion. This is about two to four per cent increase from the previous year. In terms of the number of events this time we were for the first time the top international country, which was a rating given by the Union for International Association. We clocked in about 925 international meetings that matched their criteria.
How do you see India as a source market for this segment?
India remains a strong market for us both for leisure and MICE. In terms of BT MICE it is within our top five source markets. Our studies have revealed that the spend of business travellers from India is much higher than that of other markets. Their average per capita spend was SGD 2,000 for the duration of their stay in Singapore.
Do you have a specific strategy for the India market?
It is a very important market for us which is why we have recently posted a very senior management staff to head our South Asia office in Mumbai.