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SingaporeISSUE 67 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / 43ingapore continues to maintain its position as the No.1 city in Asia for association meetings, according to the latest ICCA city rankings. The global recession seems not to have dented Singapore's ability to leverage its extensive global trade and communications network, strong knowledge-based industries, and quality MICE infrastructure. The island state is still holding 6,000 business events a year and industry professionals are confident about moving back to the pre-recession high water mark of 2008, which saw a quarter of all business events held in Asia take place in Singapore. Singapore has long held a reputation for cleanliness and efficiency, but has now added more than a twist of entertainment to its credentials with the opening of two integrated resorts - Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands. Resorts World Sentosa has six hotels offering 1,800 rooms and plenty of meetings space. The island is also a fixture on the Formula 1 circuit with its night-time Grand Prix.Singapore appears to have resisted the need to fight MICE price wars with regional competitors China, Thailand or Malaysia, in favour of making a virtue of its reputation for innovation. and leveraging its strong knowledge base to draw in events.Home to the busiest port in the world, Singapore is a natural hub and its Changi International Airport is one of the most modern, connecting to 60 countries and 200 cities. SSingapore slingRaffl es Hotel has 120 years of meetings heritage and takes its name from the Father of Modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffl es. Its colonial-styled architecture and tropical gardens attract not only those brought up on the work of Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling.Key events coming to Suntec Singapore:Annual events: Broadcast Asia & CommunicAsia (June) Singapore International Water Week (July) Singapore International Energy Week (November)Biennial events in 2012: Food and Hotel Asia (April) Oil & Gas Industry Exhibition & Conference (November)Other events in 2012: 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (March) 31st World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress (May) Casual Connect Asia (May) International Council for Commercial Arbitration Congress (June) Swarovski Global Meeting (June) Asia Pacifi c Congress on Deafness (July) 13th International Conference of Associated Research Centers for Urban Underground Space (November)Events booked at Singexpo include: Asia Pacifi c Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Annual Meeting Food&HotelAsia 2012 Conference Toastmasters International District 80 Annual Convention 2012of all business events in Asia are held in SingaporeSINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD25%

44 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 67SingaporeThe destination boasts a low crime rate and high hotel cccupancy rate of over 85 per cent. In 2010, Singapore attracted 3.1m business travellers (27 per cent of total visitor numbers). This group spent S$5.4 billion (US$4.32bn), a sum representing a growth in revenues of nearly 20 per cent over 2009. The 2011 visitor figures are pending, but the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) expects the business tourism and MICE segment to at least maintain its share of visitor arrivals.BaywatchJanuary saw the opening of Singapore's Bayfront MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station, which now plugs Marina Bay Sands resort and its Sands Expo and Convention Center into the city's most convenient mode of transport network. The hope is that the new station will bring more traffic to upcoming MICE events. Mike Lee, Vice-President of Sales Marina Bay Sands, the largest hotel in Singapore, says his venue and the Sands Expo and Convention Center collectively have sealed over 2,740 event deals, bringing over 1.1m visitors to the venues in recent years.Event highlights at the venues in the first quarter of 2012 include the Airline Retail Conference, which came to Singapore for the first time, attracting over 1,000 visitors; the SAP Conference (2,000 attendees) and The Young Presidents Organisation Global Leadership Summit (2,000 young delegates).Other successful events from the last year include CommunicAsia 2011 and the World Orchid Conference (held in the MBS ballroom)."Our largest sit-down dinner took place last November," Lee notes. "A record-breaking 5,000 guests were served an eight-course menu in our Grand Ballroom which is fully booked for a substantial part of 2012."Halls of the largest hotel in Singapore have been transformed into art galleries, fashion runways, concert halls, sporting arenas and for the recent 20th World Orchid Conference, a lush botanical garden of orchids.The integrated resort model, according to Lee, combines the best of MICE facilities with luxury accommodation, world-class entertainment, shopping and dining, all in the heart of town. Other on-property venues at MBS include Sands SkyPark, ArtScience Museum and several theatres.Suntec still shiningOver at the Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre, 2011 was a record year, with 1,600 events delivered and 7.1m guests welcomed, a five per cent increase in events and a four per cent increase in visitors compared to 2010. Major events included the Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT) Asia experience 2011; Singapore International Energy Week 2011; ITB Asia 2011; TFWA Asia Pacific 2011; the 11th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention and the 10th Asia Pacific Congress of Endoscopic Surgery. Suntec Chief Executive Pieter Idenburg says 2012 will be an exciting time for the venue as it embarks on a S$180m modernisation programme. Work is set to start in October when the venue will close for a few months of makeover. The redesign of the 15-year-old venue will see the integration of advanced technology, installation of a two-storey interactive digital wall (the world's largest) and a modernised facade. Suntec Chief Commercial Officer Ong Wee Min notes an increasing trend towards convergence between pure content and pure business elements. "There is an increasing number of smaller, niche 'convex' Above: Mike lee and ong Wee MinEvent visitors and delegates to have attended Sands Expo1.1m