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Mice Asia Net : July 2009
singapore forging ahead despite downturn Singapore haS been weathering the global economic downturn in anticipation of an upswing in late 2009. A ssistant chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board’s Business Travel and MICE Group division, Melissa Ow, says against the backdrop of weakened consumer sentiment and fiscal prudence resulting from the global economic downturn, the health of the global business events industry is bound to be affected and Singapore is no exception. “Due to lacklustre demand in the precision engineering and machine tools industry which affected the business outlook and sentiments of industry players, MTA 2009, which was scheduled to be held from March 25 to 28, 2009 at the Singapore Expo, was cancelled,” Ms Ow said. “The Asian Welding Show (AWSS) 2009, which was scheduled to be held at the Singapore Expo from July 14 to 16, 2009, was postponed with no date set yet for the resumption of the event. “In recent months venue operators such as Suntec Singapore and Singapore Expo have also reported withdrawals or postponements of some events but we understand that these are mainly smaller corporate events and exhibitions. Some event organisers have also scaled back their events to achieve cost savings. “While the corporate meetings, corporate events and incentive travel segments have seen a general slowdown, we are still receiving expressions of interest and confirmation from corporate meeting clients in some markets such as India, China, Europe and also the US. The trade conferences segment has also seen new event launches while the outlook for international association meetings remains positive as these are less susceptible to business cycles.” Ms Ow told miceASIA.net that the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB), a group of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), will continue to build on Singapore’s track record as a leading MICE destination and market Singapore as a key venue for business events, and at the same time, ramp up its efforts to help clients build event attendance from regional markets. “The SECB will also continue to work hand-in-hand with business events industry partners and Singapore Inc. agencies to build a robust pipeline of new business events to ensure business continuity, offer value propositions for business event organisers and business visitors from all over the world, and leverage on opportunities that abound.” Notwithstanding the current economic climate, events which took place in the first half of this year attracted solid attendance which met the projections set by the event organizers, Ms Ow said. “The International Furniture Fair Singapore 2009 and 26th ASEAN Furniture Show (IFFS/AFS 2009) drew a healthy attendance of 15,606 trade visitors from 118 countries. IMDEX Asia 2009, a dedicated international maritime defence show held at the Singapore Expo in May attracted more than 5000 visitors from over 55 countries. “Venue operators such as Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre and Singex Venues Pte Ltd have observed that event organisers are taking longer to confirm their venue bookings as they look to enhance cost efficiencies and target higher attendance with lower budgets. Despite these challenging times, these venue operators continue to deliver high standards of service by partnering closely with event organisers to customize high quality and budget-friendly meeting and F & B packages. They also offer clients flexible and personalized services in their efforts to meet and surpass client expectations.” New campaign To further stimulate demand in the meetings and incentives industry the STB has launched two marketing campaigns to drive visitorship and enhance Singapore’s proposition as a value-for-money destination. The first is the “2009 Reasons to Enjoy Singapore” global marketing campaign, launched in February 2009 under the “Building on ABOVE: Photo courtesy of Tanya de Groot. miceAsia.net 29 PM