Singapore Takes Off Again

Gardens by the bay and skyline

As a global travel hub, connectivity is just one of the key attributes that makes Singapore one of the top cities and destinations for meetings and events, with the country’s national carrier frequently dominating the world’s best airlines rankings. Singapore has a strong reputation as an exceptional MICE destination; in the last 10 years the country has been regularly named Asia’s top convention city. The city also bagged first place in the most recent list of the top 25 meeting destinations in Asia Pacific.

Even before the latest lifting of restrictions, events were taking off. The Singapore Air show, Asia’s most influential aerospace and defence event, returned in February for its eighth edition. Nearly 13,000 trade visitors from 39 countries met with 600 participating companies over the four days of the show. Visitors got up close and personal with nearly 2 dozen static displays of commercial aircraft and military jets, including the Singapore Air show debut of the United States Air Force’s F-35A fighter jet. They were also treated to stunning flying displays by teams from around the world including the air forces of India, Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States.

Optimism for industry recovery was palpable throughout the event, with major deals including JetBlue Airways ordering a further 30 Airbus A220-300. A Spokesperson explained, “Despite the current pandemic, Asia Pacific remains the fastest growing region in the world for aviation; accounting for 40% of the new aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years.”

Sustainability was also a core theme at the event, with extensive pledges around decarbonisation. The event was also abuzz with developments surrounding electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft or eVOTLs. Deals were signed for 200 eVTOLs, which have been touted as solutions to easing traffic congestion in urban centres and reducing the carbon intensity of transport and logistics. AirAsia signed a non-binding MOU to lease a minimum of 100 VX3 eVTOL, while German firm Volocopter announced plans to begin air taxi services in Singapore by 2024. The event itself made great strides to ‘go green’; the venue was powered by 15,000 solar panels installed on the roof of the Changi Exhibition Centre, and the event went largely paperless, with the show directory offered in an electronic format and online platforms such as a digital media centre created to minimise printing.

And for the young – and not so young - gamescom Asia returns in October, bringing its familiar festival atmosphere. The Asian satellite event of gamescom, the world’s largest computer and video games festival, will bring four packed days of exhilarating highlights for the gaming industry and a spectacular entertainment programme for fans.  For trade visitors, gamescom Asia serves as the leading platform Southeast Asian game developers to explore partnerships and expand their audiences globally. For international studios, the event offers a stepping stone into the Southeast Asian region, home to one of the fastest growing games markets in the world.

It's not just the big exhibitions that are enjoying a resurgence; across all sectors the meetings sector is bouncing back in style, and in particular academic and specialist meetings. Singapore continues to exhibit an extensive number of highly fruitful and productive research projects as well as scientific experimentation ventures being carried out by the local community of researchers, academics, and students, across a variety of domains and disciplines. Although every country has its own community of talented scientists and researchers, what helps Singaporean academics achieve more results in the work is - taking part in the many international conferences in Singapore that take place throughout the city.

Singapore is rightly known as one of the four Asian tigers and is one of the fastest developing regions in the world. The Singapore Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Tourism Market reached USD 2,523.4 Million in 2018 and is expected to attain a market value of USD 5,214.9 Million by the end of 2027.

More evidence that the business travel market is bouncing back can be seen with the dozen new hotel properties coming on stream in the near future. These include the Raffles Sentosa Resort & Spa, offering 62 villas, each private pool; a new Edition property with 190 rooms in a stylish 8 storey building; and a stunning Pan Pacific Orchard centred in the heart of the city, with 350 rooms offering views of the three unique sky gardens. Meanwhile, the Iconic Marina Bay Sands will be getting a new fourth tower. The new tower, together with a state-of-the-art 15,000-seat arena to stage major concerts and additional exhibition space, will sit on a small plot of land just adjacent to the current three towers.

Singapore is truly open for meetings and events. This tiger is really roaring.