THE formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) last year will boost the appeal of Singapore as a hub for business events looking to attract South-east Asians, but more support can be provided to fully leverage this “immense opportunity”, according to CEMS’ group managing director, Edward Liu.
Elaborating to TTGmice e-Weekly, Liu who was speaking at the MICE in Asia panel session at ITB Asia today, said: “When we run our tradeshows in Singapore, many exhibitors lament that Singapore is such a small market. But with AEC, we have moved from being just a country of about five million people to a hub of over 600 million.”
As such, Liu urged organisers to utilise this advantageous position while promoting their tradeshows to international counterparts.
He said: “Our challenge now is how to position our tradeshows that will attract firstly exhibitors, then buyers. While we want to continue pushing Singapore as a centre of the MICE industry, my take is that organisers are much more pragmatic and frankly most of them have gone into other places like Indonesia in a big way.
“Hence, we have got to be aware and continue to raise the profile of our shows and make use of technology to reach our target audience to bring them to Singapore,” he added.
When asked what type of support is needed, Liu said: “If the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) can give us more funding then we can certainly host more regional visitors to Singapore, which can enhance our positioning. Also, the STB can mobilise their regional offices to promote our events to raise further awareness.
“On our part, we will ensure that we create content that will appeal and engage both Singaporeans and South-east Asian trade visitors, and structure our programme accordingly so they will have a reason to come to Singapore,” concluded Liu.