STB extends free activities to more corporate groups

From a sunset cruise around some of Singapore's offshore islands to a walking tour of Chinatown, business travellers now have more incentives to drop in.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is expanding a scheme that gives corporate groups free leisure experiences while they are in town, as it positions itself to claim a bigger chunk of the business travel and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions market.

This comes on the back of strong growth in the sector, with the Republic receiving more than 2.9 million such visitors last year, a 12.1 per cent growth from 2017.

They spent $4.68 billion last year, excluding sightseeing, entertainment and gaming, a 7.2 per cent increase from the year before, the STB said on Tuesday.

STB's In Singapore Incentives and Rewards (Inspire) programme, previously available only to corporate groups from South-east Asia and selected regions, will now be open to groups worldwide.

Companies planning trips to Singapore by the end of 2021 with a minimum of 20 foreign attendees who stay here for at least three days can apply. The programme provides qualifying groups with a selection of 60 complimentary experiences in areas such as entertainment and team-building activities.

STB's executive director of conventions, meetings and incentive travel Edward Koh told The Straits Times that business events with more engaging content for delegates may have contributed to a rise in the number of attendees.

 
 
 

Demand for stronger destination experiences is a continuing trend for corporate meetings, he added. Dr Koh declined to reveal the cost of the Inspire scheme, which began in 2013, but said that it is a "collated industry effort" that involves the sharing of costs.

Growth momentum is expected to continue for the sector, he said, with Singapore playing host to large meetings, including next year's Lions Clubs International Convention.

Emerging clusters, such as advanced manufacturing, fintech, smart logistics and lifestyle have also drawn more visitors to exhibitions and conferences here, he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2019, with the headline 'STB extends free activities to more corporate groups'. Print Edition | Subscribe