- POSTED: 19 Sep 2013 00:05
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The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry has become big business in Singapore as the world continues its pivot towards Asia.
SINGAPORE : The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry has become big business in Singapore as the world continues its pivot towards Asia.
The number of conventions and meetings is expected to boom over the next couple of years, bringing in billions of dollars.
Singapore already leads the region but to keep its competitive edge, industry experts say it will have to think niche and technical.
The MICE industry is no longer just about convention centres or airports or even speakers.
The sector is rapidly changing, being reshaped by a new and younger generation of convention goers.
Oscar Cerezales, Board Member, Professional Convention Management Association, says: "They don't want this boring layout, theatre style. They want free slots during the session because they love to multi-task. The new generation wants shorter meetings. They don't want meetings during the weekend. And of course, they really want interactive meetings."
And a big part of making conventions interactive is technology making information mobile, networking multi-platformed and audience engagement simple.
Singapore-based Coursepad is trying to fill that need.
Tan Jie Hao, CTO and Co-Founder, Coursepad, says: "We have this idea of handing out iPads or digital devices to delegates. So instead of having paper handouts, we have everything digitalised on iPads and electronic devices where they can look at all the information and do audience engagement."
The four-year-old company turned its attention to the MICE industry just last year and says interest has already gone up more than 60 percent.
In Asia, Singapore ranks as the top convention destination, hosting a record 150 events in 2012.
Singapore also ranks in the top 10 globally, alongside Vienna, Madrid, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona, according to the Global Rankings by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
This is good news for the economy since the average business traveller spends three times more than a regular tourist.
From January to September 2012, business travel and MICE visitors spent an estimated S$4.29 billion here, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.
Mr Cerezales adds: "I see a growth in a very small market niche type of event. Keep the big events, of course, the big associations, medical congresses and the big IT corporate events and sporting events like Formula 1. But the big growth will come from shorter, smaller, market niche events."
One area that has not quite taken off yet is online conferences although the industry is halfway there with hybrid models combining techonology with the more traditional face-to-face.