Tuesday, March 13, 2012

MICE sector key in next stage of tourism growth

SINGAPORE: The Singapore government is pumping more cash into the tourism industry to further develop the city state as a lifestyle and business events hub.

Industry players welcome the cash injection, but they said regional competition and manpower shortages are not easy challenges to overcome.

The Singapore government is pouring another S$900 million for the next stage of tourism growth.

And at least a third of this will be set aside to develop the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) sector.

It's a sector that is already growing.

Jenny Zhang, marketing director, International Quality & Productivity Centre, said: "We focus more on b2b conferences. This actually draws a lot of business expertise as well as SEA level executives to Singapore. We see an increase in trend over the past few years."

Of the 13 million visitors who came to Singapore in 2011, STB estimates that a third were here for business events. And with the West looking towards the East for growth, industry players here said the regional competition in the MICE industry is certainly heating up.

Chandran Nair, general manager, Singex, said: "The key competitors in this part would be Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and even Indonesia. The trade associations, the government, and private sector (are) all working together to bring MICE into their country because they all see the benefit of MICE.

"MICE has a strong multiplier effect for the economy. You see major trade shows coming into the countries, and you see hotels, stem contractors, freight forwarders and shops benefit."

Another challenge is the availability of manpower. And this is where the industry would like to see more support.

Rosalind Ng, president, SACEOS Singapore, said: "The challenge now is really the resource issue. We need to actually groom and develop better resource, we are lacking in that... Productivity and training is really very important for us to get onto the next stage of growing the MICE sector."

The Singapore government already pumped in S$2 billion in 2005 to stimulate the tourism industry. With an additional war chest of S$900 million, the government clearly means business.

View the original article here

Source From Channel News Asia

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