TravelBiz Monitor

Outbound News

Thursday, 24 January, 2019, 10 : 00 AM [IST]
Singapore aggressively focusing Meetings & Incentive group travel from India
Prasenjit Chakraborty | Mumbai

Kicking off its first MICE-focused event for 2019 in India, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) organised a seminar on MICE in Mumbai with the theme ‘Meetings & Incentive Travel to Singapore – Forging New Possibilities’. Talking to TravelBiz Monitor, GB Srithar, Regional Director (South Asia, Middle East and Africa), Singapore Tourism Board, said that in a short span of time India has emerged as an important source market for MICE travel. “Especially the Meetings & Incentive travel from India has registered a significant growth in the recent past. And India has emerged as one of the highest growth markets for us,” said Srithar.

According to him, in the Meetings & Incentives space, from India, Singapore has witnessed very good movement from sectors like automobile, pharmaceuticals, financial services, lifestyle and infrastructure. “Over the last few years we have developed certain schemes and Inspire was one of them. We developed the scheme first exclusively for India, and later went to other the markets as well. Therefore, India will be important market for us to cultivate. In this direction, we are working with many corporate clients and intermediaries,” said Srithar.

He added, “We foresee in the near future India will continue to see growth in M&I space.” When asked to comment what message he wants to send to the travel trade, Srithar said that Singapore constantly refreshing its product offering. “If you visited Singapore 5 years ago, you need to visit again,” he quipped. He also said that their endeavour is to constantly decipher information to the travel trade fraternity. “We need to do more so that more and more people in the travel trade know about our schemes and get the benefit of it. It’s a mutual interest,” he said.

Adrian Kong, Area Director, South Asia (Mumbai), International Group, Singapore Tourism Board, said that Singapore can cater to the MICE offerings for both small and large groups. He cited examples of Albatross Ship and Jewel Changi. Throwing light on Jewel Changi he said, “This is an integrated lifestyle, retail and dinning hub just in front of Changi airport terminal 1 and can be accessed by both locals and travellers. It has the MICE space on the top for events. It is the multi-dimensional lifestyle destination to integrate nature, play and retail elements on a large scale.”

Last year in December, Singapore hosted largest ever MICE group from India which comprised 3,600 pax. “We have hosted 3,600 people from Amway last year and they spent 5 days in Singapore and did many interesting activities,” he said. Considering all travellers, including MICE, from January to November 2018, Singapore welcomed 1.32 million Indian visitors, a 14.4% increase over the same period in 2017. India continues to be Singapore’s third largest visitor arrivals source market.

The MICE programme included a keynote presentation by Gokul Bajaj, Head of Sales and Partnerships, Cvent. This was followed by a panel discussion on the topic “How can the MICE industry leverage technology to better engage their audience?”. Gokul Bajaj, Aikta Tyagi, Vice President & Head of Special Events, Amway India, SD Nandakumar, President & Country Head - B2B for SOTC Travel Ltd, formed the panel. The discussion was moderated by Srithar.

A team-building activity focusing on Lego Serious Play, conducted by Ludovic Odier, CEO, Outdoor in Asia, highlighted innovative, high impact and experiential team engagement activities possible in Singapore for M&I travellers. The attendees were updated on new MICE venues, incentive schemes provided by the STB. The programme was well attended with 150 Indian travel agents and 40 Singapore stakeholders representing hotels, airlines, attractions, Destination Management Companies (DMC) and cruise operators.