Connect to the Little Red Dot
Singapore plays to its compactness and superior infrastructure to be one of the top MICE and global events destination in Asia
The Little Red Dot is hot. As a MICE (Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions) destination, that is. The city is featured regularly in international rankings by the Union of International Associations, the International Congress and Convention Association as well as annual awards accorded by industry media titles.
“Today, Singapore is the top Asian destination of choice for event owners. This is the result of a confluence of both software and hardware factors. In terms of software, we are keen to anchor more Asian-centric and thought-leadership events that are relevant to the growth of the region. We want to entrench Singapore as a destination that delivers innovative content and enriching experiences that connect with the visitor. This can help keep us competitive in Asia in the years to come,” said Jeannie Lim, Executive Director, Conventions, Meetings and Incentive Travel.
“Hardware, on the other hand, has always been one of our key strengths, with a wide range of meeting venues and spaces to cater to all types of business events. We also continue to work closely with our industry players to develop their skills and capabilities, to build and sustain a strong business events ecosystem in Singapore.”
“I have no qualms in asking my tourist friends to use our public transport because it is safe and fast.” - Professor Menon attributes this efficiency to a sustained transport policy “with very few flip flops because of political stability, ensuring continuity in implementation”.
Ease of Accessibility
Integral to a successful MICE eco-system is accessibility. Getting in, out, and around Singapore is a cinch given its connectivity by air, land, and sea. Its naturally strategic location at the heart of Asia is enhanced by a first-class airport. For the sixth year running, the Singapore Changi Airport was named the world’s best at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2015. With a fifth terminal in the works, the sky’s the limit for air travel to and from Singapore.
Once on the island, a network of over 3,000 kilometers of expressways and roads; an intricate web of mass rapid transit and light rapid transit systems; and a fleet of more than 3,700 public buses and over 27,000 taxis provide safe, speedy, and quality passage everywhere.
“The first thing that tourists notice on arrival is the state of the roads and the general movement of traffic. There is no second chance to make a first impression. Traffic jams put people off. We compare favorably with first world cities of oursize. In preventing gridlock we rank very high,” notes Adjunct Associate Professor with the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Menon AP Gopinath, a transport engineering consultant with more than 30 years’ experience.
Small is Beautiful
Another factor that has contributed to the success of Singapore’s transport system is its size. While being small may not be ideal in many situations, Singapore’s compactness has made it easier to connect people to places.
The world has certainly noticed. In KPMG International’s Infrastructure 100: World Markets Report 2014, Singapore’s Intelligent Transport System was named one of the best. The same year, Singapore’s public transport system was found to be the world’s best and most cost-efficient in a study by London consulting firm, Credo.
And still, Singapore’s transport system is striving to be even more cutting-edge. Nanyang Technological University (NTU), for example, has been testing out the world’s first electric taxi for the tropics. Dubbed EVA, it is the first car designed, developed, and manufactured entirely in Singapore. The award-winning vehicle can go up to 200 kilometers with just a 15-minute charge. This is part of Singapore’s effort at providing sustainable transportation that minimizes carbon emissions and noise pollution.
There are bigger plans ahead. The government has pledged S$30 billion to build up the country’s infrastructure by the end of the decade. This is a 50% increase from the S$20 billion spent in the currentfiscal year and the most significant investment since the building of the North-East MRT line and Light Rail Transit system in the 1990s.