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MICE visitors make up 15% of arrivals in Singapore, 22% of spending in H1 2018

SINGAPORE continues to enjoy its status as a choice destination for quality events, as visitor arrivals to Singapore increased 7.7 per cent year on year to 9.2 million in the first half of 2018, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of travel trade event ITB Asia, Mr Chee said that about 15 per cent of visitors were here for business travel and meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (BTMICE). They contributed S$2.2 billion or 22 per cent of Singapore's total tourism receipts, excluding receipts for sightseeing, entertainment and gaming sectors.

Singapore was also named "Best BTMICE City 2018" by TTG Travel Awards in September this year.

"This recognition is only possible with the close collaboration between our industry players and the government," said Mr Chee. "We will continue to work hard and look for areas where we can improve and do even better."

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ITB Asia is being hosted by Singapore for the 11th time, and is expected to receive more than 11,000 foreign and local visitors from the travel and tourism industry over the next three days.

In his speech, Mr Chee shared that Singapore is working to enhance its overall attractiveness as a destination with a strategy involving three key thrusts: investing in quality attractions and reinventing tourism offerings, attracting new visitor segments and increasing their spending, and forging strong partnerships with industry stakeholders to co-create innovative solutions.

To achieve the first thrust, Singapore plans to revamp the Orchard Road shopping belt to include more activities and attractions for tourists and locals, as well as reshape Sentosa Island's attractions and develop Pulau Brani and the Greater Southern Waterfront.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will also continue working on bringing to Singapore best-in-class events such as the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, and premium branded content through collaborations such as the one it has with Disney.

Data analytics will be used in the second part of the strategy, with the STB already using the Singapore Tourism Analytics Network (Stan) to consolidate and analyse tourism data including visitor spending and movement patterns. It will be upgraded and made available progressively to the rest of the industry to help them meet changing consumer demands, target customers more effectively and deliver more seamless and personalised experiences, Mr Chee said.

Finally, the STB will promote industry partnerships by funding Tourism Innovation Challenges. It has already done so for the hotels and travel agents sectors, and last month launched the MICE Innovation Challenge.

It will also partner tourism associations, employers and various training providers to build a quality tourism workforce by developing internationally accredited courses and incorporating relevant emerging skills into programme curricula.