SINGAPORE: The meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry in Singapore is expected to recover strongly following the country's reopening of its borders to fully-vaccinated visitors, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Wednesday (Jun 1).
With a strong pipeline of large-scale events from this year, a full recovery for the MICE industry is expected in two to three years, the tourism board added in a media release.
The industry was badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually coming to a complete halt as events were shuttered and attendees stayed home.
Travel restrictions, COVID-19 testing requirements and quarantine measures imposed by countries also made business travel challenging.
Capacity limits at large-scale business events were raised to 750 people in March 2021, but the limits were swiftly reversed back to 250 people as Singapore battled a rise in community cases that included the country's first hospital cluster.
But there are indications that industry recovery is picking up pace, said STB on Wednesday.
Singapore hosted more than 200 events attended by about 49,000 delegates last year. In the first three months of this year, Singapore hosted more than 150 events attended by at least 37,000 delegates, said STB.
"This number is set to increase, with at least 66 international events secured for the rest of 2022."
This year marks the return of several marquee international events, including two Food and Hotel Asia events in September and October.
These events are expected to attract more than 30,000 physical attendees each, STB said.
"The robust pipeline of MICE events reflects event organisers’ confidence in Singapore’s fundamentals – its vibrant business culture, excellent infrastructure, stable government, and stellar track record in delivering high-quality events," said STB.
SUSTAINABILITY THE "DOMINANT TREND"
Sustainability has emerged as the dominant trend in business events, STB noted, adding that "as consumers become more aware of the impact of their purchases, travel and meetings professionals are demanding more sustainable options".
The agency said that it will continue helping the industry adopt sustainability certification and green practices through the Business Events in Singapore scheme.
The Singapore MICE Advantage Programme 3.0 will also include a new sustainability focus, which offers delegates and event organisers the choice to travel sustainably through green transportation options, environmentally conscious tours, and discounted public transportation on trains and buses, among other initiatives.
STB also launched a new edition of the In Singapore Incentives & Rewards (INSPIRE) Global 2.0 programme, which gives qualified MICE groups more options for dining, attractions, thematic tours and team building.
In April, STB’s chief executive Keith Tan said that Singapore will need to defend and grow its position as the Global-Asia node for business tourism in the medium and long term.
STB is also focusing on growing business events that are relevant to the needs of the future such as sustainability, urban solutions, and advanced manufacturing, he said.
“In this way, our MICE sector can support the growth of Singapore-based companies in these areas, giving them a competitive advantage right out here in Singapore and strengthen Singapore’s geo-economic relevance at a time when globalisation is under severe threat."