Singapore has emerged as the only Asian city in the Top Ten Convention Cities in the world alongside Vienna, Madrid, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona, according to the latest Global Rankings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
Singapore has also maintained its position as Asiaâ€™s Top Convention City for 11 years running. In 2012, Singapore hosted a record of 150 ICCA events, the highest so far, representing a 5.6 per cent increase from 142 in 2011, compared to the 4.4 per cent increase from 2010 to 2011.
The accolade comes after a stellar year for Singapore tourism as the country welcomed a record high 14.4 million visitors, an increase of nine per cent from 2011 while tourism receipts stood at S$23.0 billion, an increase of three per cent from 2011. For 2013, Singapore forecasts tourism receipts to grow to between S$23.5 â€“ S$24.5 billion, and visitor arrivals to between 14.8 â€“ 15.5 million.
There was also robust performance in the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry, which saw MICE visitor arrivals rise to 2.5 million from January to September 2012, representing a six per cent year-on-year growth. Expenditure by these business visitors rose seven per cent year-on-year to an estimated S$4.29 billion.
This comes after a successful year of hosting 18 world congresses in 2012, including a number of first-in-Asia or Singapore events such as the Congress of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, International Association of Gaming Regulators Conference, Young Presidentsâ€™ Organisation Global Leadership Summit, World Conference on Tobacco or Health, World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress as well as Global MBA Leadership Conference & Expo.
â€œThe competition in the global meetings arena has never been keener,” saidÂ Neeta Lachmandas, assistant chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), “and Singapore is up against many worthy cities going for the MICE business. We believe that we are moving in the right direction by providing original content, incisive insight into leading-edge discussions and platforms for networking and exchange opportunities. We will also certainly continue to work with partners to strengthen our events calendar and deliver quality meetings to our delegates.
â€œDelegates are becoming more sophisticated and the Singapore MICE industry will need to progress to a higher level to deliver more value to our international partners. Decisions are no longer made based just on superior meeting infrastructure and service but an entire value proposition surrounding intellectual property and in-depth content. Together with the industry, we will continue to collaborate and strengthen Singaporeâ€™s position as a knowledge exchange hub and create differentiated experiences that will meet the ever-evolving needs of global business professionals.â€