MICE industry in Singapore reinventing itself through providing unique experiences

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Author: Ravi Philemon

The MICE industry in Singapore is reinventing itself through providing a unique experience with technology, cuisine and content, says a new research report by Colliers International.

Colliers’ Hotel Insights Q3 2019 report said that Singapore continues to take advantage of being within a seven-hour flight radius to circa half the world’s population. It noted that Marina Bay Sands (MBS), which was launched in 2010, welcomed over 330 million visitors, attracting approximately 700 new meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) events to Singapore.

“Last year the venue hosted 3,600 events, attracting 1.4 million delegates to the Sands Expo & Convention Centre. In 2018, the industry accounted for approximately 15% of all arrivals, contributing S$2.2 billion (22%) in tourist receipts.

With a new 15,000 capacity conference center at MBS recently announced and The MICE 2020 Roadmap, Singapore will continue its focus on improving delegate experience through interactive technology, experience, convenience and thought leadership.”

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In the interim, more established markets within the MICE industry of Singapore will aim to refocus on extended corporate stays, introducing bespoke experiences, exceptional venues and integrated technology solutions, said the report.

The report noted that as investors are taking stock after a politically eventful quarter, activity in some areas may remain muted as investors digest recent developments and given the broader backdrop of simmering trade tensions and slowing global growth.

“However, there is also ample evidence of resilience in markets like Singapore, where additional investment in the commercial and leisure sector will underline the city-state’s status as a commercial haven,” the Colliers said. Touching on the golfing market segment within the MICE industry in Singapore, the report said that “it provides access to certain financial products and to a cache of like-minded people.”

  • Asia Pacific generated $229 billion from MICE in 2017 or 28.4% of global MICE revenue
  • Tourism in Thailand generated US$109.5 billion in revenue in 2018, or 21.6% of Thailand’s GDP
  • Okinawa witnessed 6th consecutive year of growth in domestic and international arrivals in 2018
  • Investors take stock after a politically eventful Q2 amid slowing global growth
  • Additional investment in the commercial and leisure sector in Singapore will underline the city-state’s status as a commercial haven

Govinda Singh, Executive Director of Valuation & Advisory Services, Asia, at Colliers commented: “Hotels across the Asia Pacific continued to have a tough year in Q2 2019 compared to the prior year quarter, with overall room occupancy and average daily rate showing decreases to 68.1% and USD99.76, respectively. The recent escalation in the US-China trade dispute continues to weigh on business and consumer confidence, thereby tempering demand growth. However, intra-Asia and growing domestic travel in the larger destinations across Asia is likely to continue to underpin demand in the region.”

MICE In Asia
Globally, Asia Pacific is the second largest and the fastest growing region for the MICE industry, with meeting and event-based travel generating US$229 billion in 2017 or 28.4% of global revenue. MICE is an important source of revenue to the hospitality sector with approximately 90% of all business events in the region hosted in hotels and visitors spending 1.7 times more than leisure tourists.

Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia are focused on events promoting trade activities within the region, while more established destinations such as China, Singapore and Hong Kong are reinventing themselves through providing unique experiences with technology, cuisine and content. Further, China dominates the MICE industry in Asia Pacific and is expected to retain the top spot through to 2025.

Destinations of the Quarter
For the past decade, tourism sector in Thailand has been the key driver for Thailand’s economic growth. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the travel and tourism sector in Thailand generated US$109.5 billion in revenue in 2018, making up 21.6% of Thailand’s GDP. This was a 6% growth YOY and outpaced the global average growth rate of 3.9% in 2018. Phuket is the second most visited city in Thailand after Bangkok. In 2017, a total of 28 million visitors arrived in Phuket, a 4.5% growth from the year prior. In recent years, Phuket has become more established as a MICE destination. In 2017, the city hosted approximately 660 meetings and received close to 60,000 participants.

Okinawa is the most popular beach resort destination in Japan with its sub-tropical climate, vast beaches and marine life. 2018 witnessed the sixth consecutive increase in the number of domestic and international arrivals in Okinawa. Compared to 2017, domestic arrivals rose by 1.6% in 2018 and international arrivals rose by 11.5%. Overall, the total number of visitors increased by 4.4% from 2017 to a total of 9,999,000 visitors.

The report concluded that in 2019, the transaction market of the MICE industry remains subdued, as owners consolidate their portfolio and seek opportunistic investments.

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