The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has announced new incentives and partnerships to benefit from opportunities in the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) sector. It also reported an increase in travellers from China.

The board recently launched a global edition of its incentive programme, In Singapore Incentives & Rewards (INSPIRE), which offers more than 60 complimentary experiences for eligible MICE groups.

The initiative is being promoted in collaboration with 29 Singapore businesses across four broad categories: dining, entertainment and nightlife; thematic tours and learning experiences; tailored attraction-based experiences; and teambuilding activities.

A 2019 CWT Meeting and Events Trends report has forecasted a 5-10% increase in global demand for meetings and events, with events considered a key channel to facilitate face-to-face engagement, discussions, conversations and networking.

According to the STB, 2.9 million people travelled to Singapore for business, meetings, incentives and conferences in 2018, an increase of 12% from 2017. Revenue generated from the sector climbed 7.2% to S$4.68bn.

STB deputy chief executive, Melissa Ow, said the launch builds upon the positive reception from the previous INSPIRE programme offered to corporate groups in Southeast Asia and specific regions.

“We are delighted to launch the global INSPIRE programme on the back of our stellar results for [business travel] MICE visitors to Singapore in 2018. The new global INSPIRE includes markets such as the Americas, North Asia, Oceania and more,” she added.

As well as marketing the country to the MICE sector, the STB is trying to attract more visitors from China. It has also recently announced a partnership with the CTrip group to boost tourist experience and destination marketing.

According to Keith Tan, STB chief executive, online travel agencies such as Ctrip and are important channels to reach a wider audience, particularly free and independent travellers.

"Our partnership with Ctrip and reinforces our latest campaign efforts to target post-90s Chinese consumers who tend to book their holidays on their own. We look forward to working with Ctrip and to show travellers a different side of Singapore,” he said.

This partnership follows a deal in April this year with Alibaba Group to co-develop marketing campaigns for the next three years. The partnership will kick off with a Passion Made Possible Privileges campaign in the second half of 2019, targeting Chinese visitors across the entire consumer journey. 

Singapore’s MICE and tourism sectors have enjoyed an unusual boost following protests and disruption in Hong Kong. Visitor arrivals grew 4% in July from a year ago, the fastest pace in nine months, with hotel occupancy rising to a record high of 94% for the month, according to data from STB.

Despite a regional drop in Chinese tourists, Singapore-bound visitors from China rose 7.8% in July from a year ago, while tourists from the US and Indonesia rose 17% and 12% respectively.

Sourced from Mumbrella Asia, The Drum, Marketing Interactive, South China Morning Post.