F1's return boosts Singapore's Mice industry, with 25 major events timed around race period

Race organisers are expecting this year's ticket sales to at least match that of the 2019 race. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore’s Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) industry is bouncing back strongly after being hit badly by the pandemic, with around 25 events timed around the Formula One race, which returns this year. 

After a two-year break brought on by the pandemic, the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix F1 race will be held from Sept 30 to Oct 2.

Race organisers are expecting this year's ticket sales to at least match that of the 2019 race, which drew a three-day total of 268,000 spectators - the second-highest after the 300,000 at the 2008 inaugural race.

The slew of upcoming events, which are happening around the race period, includes heavy hitters such as the Milken Institute Asia Summit (Sept 28-30), an annual meeting of investors, business executives and others to discuss issues affecting the region, and the Forbes Global CEO Conference (Sept 26-27).

One of Singapore's largest trade shows, FHA-Food & Beverage (Sept 5-8), is also returning in person for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2020.

The number of events timed to coincide with the F1 are similar to pre-Covid-19 levels, noted the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). It added that the 25 events are expected to be attended by close to 90,000 delegates.

From next Monday (Aug 29), masks will be optional at large events with more than 500 participants, but attendees will have to be fully vaccinated.

Mice events are also no longer subject to restrictions on group sizes, event capacity limits, or zoning requirements. Safe distancing is also no longer required.

Mr Yap Chin Siang, deputy chief executive of STB, said that marquee events such as F1 benefit the Mice industry, attracting key business events and high-yield business travellers to Singapore. 

“The strong return of F1 and business events around it also demonstrate Singapore’s continued appeal as a choice destination for business and leisure,” he said.

“Coupled with the increased interest we are seeing from event organisers to stage or scale up their events here, we are optimistic that the recovery of the Mice sector will pick up pace.”

Milken Institute’s inaugural Asia fellow, Mr Curtis S. Chin, said: “For many Milken Institute Asia Summit attendees, the Singapore Grand Prix is an added strong and powerful draw. It is absolutely clear that the return of the F1 adds to growing confidence that the Singapore’s Mice industry is firmly on the recovery path.”

FHA-Food & Beverage is switching from a biennial event to an annual event for the first time this year. 

Event director Janice Lee said that pivoting it to an annual event caters to industry professionals “who need a year-round solution to meet a larger audience in the fast-changing industry”.

Ms Lee added: “This could not have come at a better time, as industry players grow their businesses and find new ways to address customers’ needs as markets recover from the pandemic.”

Singapore hosted more than 150 Mice events in the first three months of this year, and these were attended by more than 37,000 delegates.

Last year, in the thick of the pandemic, attendance numbers for Mice events took a hit.

Only around 49,000 delegates attended more than 200 Mice events hosted here over the course of the year.

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