When Singapore Tourism Bureau (STB) invited several International and European associations to come over to meet the relevant local societies as well as visit conference facilities in Singapore, they did not expect such a symbiosis among these associations…
Words Cécile Koch, BOARDROOM
Last November, STB invited several associations to visit Singapore as a possible conference destination. These associations came from various fields of specialities, and at first glance they didn’t have much in common, although they were all International and European non-for-profit organisations. Their interests ranged from city planning to physical activity, knowledge and intelligence engineering to city bike promotion.
STB had not only arranged the visit of some specific conference infrastructure (see below), but they had also organised site inspections ‘much less travelled’ which made the whole trip suddenly very interesting!
The URA City Gallery for instance, which was initiated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, gives an interesting view on how Singapore set up its strategy 50 years ago to grow as a city/state and how it’s currently planning its future. Let me focus on how Singapore has become the City-State leading in South-East Asia for their
+ economy, with high levels of innovation,
+ attention to green growth and
+ achievement as investment destination.
Innovation & Green Growth
It is the 2nd busiest port and 3rd largest financial hub in the world with over 14.000 European companies having facilities in the city-state. As for innovation and green growth, the city-state is a world leader in research, urban development, smart cities and sustainability. Vertical farming, sustainable and efficient transport are just a few examples. The purpose to focus on smart eco-cities development is to create a friendly, time-saving and stress free life for their citizens through large-scale investments. Singapore has become member of the Enterprise Europe Network in this way opening up opportunities for European SMEs.
The visit to Gardens by the Bay was a good way to explore the sustainable concern of the city: the concept of these gardens is to showcase how engineering and cutting-edge technologies can supply energy efficient solutions, while the so-called ‘Supertrees’ also empowered by sustainable energy, tower over you.
STB noticed during the trip that the group was really keen on seeing more of the city, so they organised a last-minute and quite unusual breakfast at Tiong Bahru market, a very local place that only the locals would know, a kind of indoor market with food stalls where you get dizzy with breakfast options! The participants not only got to see a different part of Singapore which they normally would never had visited, but it also enabled the group to bond ever more!
Another dinner one night at the Lau Pat Sat, historic market located downtown in the financial district, inspired the same kind of feelings, with delicious street food and beer while sitting at wooden tables in the middle of a street. It not only counterbalanced the refined diners at upscale restaurants we also enjoyed, but somehow it brought the city even more to life.
These experiences of total immersion in the city sparked off out-of-the box ideas among members of our groups. They started to see synergies in their fields of specialisation and ended up dreaming of a joined congress together as they noticed that there were some common interests. In the end, this trip was a fine example of how a visit to a city, which showcased its openness and flexibility, got lead to direct ROI: a new congress!
Fast Facts for Convention Facilities:
+ Marina Bay Sands: an integrated resort with conference halls, retail and casino. One of Singapore’s iconic building, complete with a sky park and an elevated outdoor pool. Exhibitions floors with 30.000 square meters of flexible space , a ballroom up to 2000 booths, and 250 meeting rooms.
+ SUNTEC Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre: With over 22,000 square metres exhibition space, 15,000 square metres of meeting spaces and a column free convention hall for up to 10,000 persons. It has the world’s largest HD LED screen.
+ Shangri-la Hotel: Located in the outskirts of Orchard Road, a premier shopping district, Shangri-la hotel has a total of about 4,500 sq m of MICE facilities with 792 guestrooms and suites over three distinctive wings.
+ MAX Atria: the first premier eco-green venue in Singapore to attain the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark Platinum award, the convention wing of Singapore EXPO provides a dynamic and versatile 12,700 sqm, with 32 column-free rooms, spacious foyers, a garden courtyard and rooftop space, for more than 3,500 people.