Let's catch more Mice

It is truly surprising that a tiny city-state should emerge once again as the world's most popular place for holding meetings. In being ranked top international meeting country for the third year running, and top international meeting city for the seventh consecutive year, the Republic has proved that size is not destiny.

While Singapore's top ranking as a country, with 994 meetings, is commendable when seen against second-placed United States (799), its performance as the top city, with more than twice as many meetings hosted by second-placed Brussels (436), is indeed amazing given the considerable effort of global cities to develop the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) industry, underscored by the presence of city bigwigs.

The 2013 global rankings, drawn up by a non-profit research institute and documentation centre based in Brussels, prove that a paranoid pursuit of efficiency is necessary to complement factors such as convenient location, good infrastructure and vibrant cultural experiences in assuring success.

But these are not enough. Looking ahead, Singapore will have to enhance its attractiveness in a competitive global market through innovative practices that build on its strengths. Managing costs would be crucial to the long-term future of the Mice industry.

An unremitting focus on service quality must also be embraced by all. It is not only organisers but also the many suppliers here who contribute to the development of a robust Mice ecosystem.

Constantly adding value to events is the way for Singapore to remain the choice destination of discerning Mice travellers. Given that the typical Mice visitor spends two to three times more than a leisure tourist, Singapore must lay out a commensurately large welcome mat for such visitors with newer and better attractions to keep them coming back for more.