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The Revolutionary Concept of the MICE Integrated Resorts

The Revolutionary Concept of the MICE Integrated Resorts


By George Tanasijevich


2“The MICE-driven integrated resort is superior to a stand-alone or hotel-based MICE facility. The MICE IR does not cannibalize or replace, but instead complements and grows the market, benefiting all MICE venues, hospitality businesses and entertainment operators” says George Tanasijevich, the General manager and Vice President Singapore Development at Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd.
Tanasijevich explains the revolutionary concept of the MICE IR was developed by the Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson, and ever since the concept emerged it has completely transformed the global MICE industry landscape.

In this article, Tanasijevich shares his insight on the MICE IR, and how it reinforced Singapore’s strength in MICE.




George Tanasijevich
GM/VP Singapore Development
Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd





LVS IRs are custom-designed to attract both business and leisure tourists. The LVS IR combines luxury hotel rooms and suites, MICE facilities, entertainment attractions, retail shops, restaurants and casino-style gaming into one convenient complex.  The MICE business is the primary engine that drives traffic to an Integrated Resort. However, because LVS IRs cannot host all delegates who attend LVS MICE events, LVS generates business for other hotels in the market.  MICE events substantially increase hotel occupancy levels during mid-week periods, thereby serving as an efficient complement to leisure tourists who fill LVS IRs on weekends. Although it attracts much attention, the casino typically occupies less than 5% of the total floor area at LVS IRs.





The concept of a MICE-driven IR was conceived and developed by Sheldon G. Adelson, Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, who has been a leader and innovator in the travel, tourism and MICE industries for over forty 40 years.

A dynamic entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Mr. Adelson’s business career has spanned five decades. He has created and nurtured to maturity more than 50 different companies including COMDEX, a pioneering trade show created for the computer industry. Under his direction, COMDEX became one of the world’s largest and most visited trade shows creating an impact with events in more than 20 countries.

Demonstrating his leadership in transforming the MICE industry, Mr. Adelson purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino on the world-renowned Las Vegas Strip in 1989. At the time, austere hotel rooms were generally considered as loss-leaders acting as support for casinos. Retail, non-gaming recreation and leisure facilities were in the doldrums. Following this purchase, Mr. Adelson embarked on a program of strategic developments designed to radically transform the accepted Las Vegas model.

In 1990, Mr. Adelson conceived and constructed the Sands Expo and Convention Center (The Sands Expo) an approximately 107,000 square metre (1.15 million square foot) convention and trade show facility and the largest privately-owned and operated such facility in the United States. In doing so, he ushered in a new phase of business centricity through the exhibition industry and spearheaded the transformation of Las Vegas into the ‘Conventions Capital’ of the United States.

As part of his strategy to leverage LVS’ MICE offering to drive tourism, in 1996 Mr. Adelson demolished the Sands Hotel and Casino and began to authentically recreate the romantic Italian city of Venice complete with canals, gondoliers and the lure of the city’s rich Italian history on the property, adjacent to The Sands Expo. In 1999, the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino (the Venetian), that is directly connected to and integrated with the Sands Expo, opened for business as a world-class resort destination. Since its creation, the property has received worldwide recognition and many accolades from the tourism industry and beyond. As well as being heralded by Conde Nast Traveler as ‘One of the Best Places to Stay in the World’, the Venetian has been honoured with many architectural and industry awards confirming its status as one of the finest hotels in the world.

Mr. Adelson’s vision for this luxurious, all-suite integrated resort clearly challenged the status quo in Las Vegas and created a ‘must-see’ destination catering to a free-spending mix of business travellers, tourists, and gaming customers. In addition to capturing the spirit of the fabled Italian city, the Venetian also offers the world’s finest luxury accommodation, fine dining, shopping, spectacular entertainment, superb convention facilities and gaming venues all under one magnificent roof. The Venetian also includes the Congress Center, a meeting and conference facility that of approximately 102,000 square metres (1.1 million square feet).

The Venetian not only revolutionised the Las Vegas hotel industry, as the city’s first true integrated resort, it also breathed new life into the city’s MICE market. In the year prior to the opening of the Venetian, only 27 of the largest 200 trade shows in North America were held in Las Vegas. By 2001, 40 of the top North American shows were established in Las Vegas.

With both gaming and non-gaming components as primary revenue drivers, LVS has the means to continually improve its tourist product offerings—and the continued strong demand for those offerings has given it a clear incentive to do so.

The combination of the Venetian, the Venezia Tower, the Sands Expo and the Palazzo is the largest integrated resort in the world, featuring more than 210,000 square metres (2.25 million square feet) of MICE space, including 362 meeting rooms and more than 7,000 suites, more than 30 gourmet restaurants, 60,000 square metres (650,000 square feet) of premium retail mall, three world-class theatres, two world-class spas, and eight swimming pools and spas. LVS’ presence and the huge scale of the operation truly deliver a destination unlike any other in the world.

These vibrant, unique attractions and facilities contributed to drawing America’s MICE planners back to Las Vegas, making it the number one MICE destination in the United States.

Following its success in Las Vegas, Las Vegas Sands implemented the MICE-driven IR model in Macau, once again transforming a market through its revolutionary business model. Through its majority-owned subsidiary Sands China Ltd., the company owns a collection of properties in Macau, including The Venetian® Macao, Four Seasons Hotel Macao, its Cotai Strip® development, as well as the Sands® Macao on the Macau peninsula. Las Vegas Sands is currently constructing a 6,400-room complex at the Cotai Strip, which will feature the Shangri-La, Traders, Sheraton, and St. Regis hotel brands. Las Vegas Sands Corp. is developing Macau into a world class MICE destination, allowing it to capture rising demand from China.

This visionary approach has fundamentally changed the face and the future of the MICE market in Las Vegas, Macau and now in Singapore. With each new property LVS builds upon its existing LVS global MICE network and reputation as the premier MICE destination among key industry players and delegates.


Marina Bay Sands

LVS designed its newest property in Singapore, Marina Bay Sands, as the ultimate MICE destination. It is conveniently located adjacent to Singapore’s Central Business District, close to hospitality and entertainment facilities, just 20 minutes from the airport.


Reinforcing Singapore’s strength in MICE

Singapore has long been highly regarded as a MICE destination. It has held the world’s ‘top international meeting city’ ranking in the UIA global rankings for three consecutive years. With Marina Bay Sands, Singapore is solidifying and growing its position as a top international MICE destination by adding exciting new venue options all under one roof which help to attract a large number of delegates. In fact, Marina Bay Sands has already secured around 1,000 events over 1,000 deals.


Award winning venue

In January 2011, Marina Bay Sands was named as “Asia’s Best MICE Hotel” in the CEI Asia Industrial Awards, an annual award by an industry leading magazine, CEI Asia. The endorsements came directly from the magazine’s regional readers, made up of leading planners and buyers of conferences, exhibitions and incentives across Asia.

The annual award also places Marina Bay Sands in the second spot for “Asia’s Best Convention and Exhibition Center” – a high accolade for an operation that will only cross its one year mark in April 2011.


Designed to complement existing facilities, attract new events and grow Singapore’s MICE industry

In its bid to become the region’s best MICE venue, Marina Bay Sands has already attracted numerous new events to Singapore such as Art Stage 2011 and The Industrial Fabrics Association International Expo Asia 2011. The show organizers have chosen Marina Bay Sands to launch their debut shows, a testament to their confidence in the company’s expertise, scale of operations and brand positioning. Some shows, such as the UFI Congress, returned to Singapore after a long absence. UFI members host over 4500 exhibitions and manage 181 exhibition centers. The UFI Congress drew record participation numbers with nearly 500 delegates from 56 countries in returning to Singapore after 16 years. In January 2011, the prestigious Zee Cine Awards brought India’s brightest Bollywood stars to Marina Bay Sands in a high-glamour event.



Convenience of the “All-under-one-roof” concept

1) The Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center

The Sands Expo and Convention Center offers more than 120,000 square meters or 1.3 million square feet of meeting space, making it one of the largest and most flexible locations in Asia. It is also the biggest MICE facility in Singapore, and the ballroom is the largest in Southeast Asia, accommodating 6,600 people for a banquet, and up to 11,000 for an auditorium-style lecture. Beyond the MICE facilities, delegates can enjoy the luxury hotel, take in a Broadway musical, eat at the finest restaurants, enjoy world-class shopping, visit the casino and experience a unique destination.


Center highlights:

  • Five floors of exhibition and convention space
  • Up to 2,000 exhibition booths and 250 meeting rooms
  • Can accommodate up to 45,000 delegates
  • A comprehensive one-stop event and exhibition solution provider, which offers services that range from technical needs like audio visual equipment to stage set-up and logistics
  • Offers the region’s largest ballroom at over 8,000 square meters
  • Grand Ballroom can seat up to 6,600 diners for a banquet or 11,000 delegates for a theater-style convention
  • Grand Ballroom can be configured into 16 rooms to hold smaller groups of a few hundred people


With a wide range of exciting entertainment options and unique design features, the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort has the perfect space for every event. In addition to the Sands Expo and Convention Center, other creative venues include:


  •  The Sands SkyPark® for cocktail parties or intimate dinner receptions
  •  The outdoor event plaza which can accommodate up to 10,000 for large-scale festivals or fashion shows
  • Two theaters for product launches, presentations or conferences
  •  Celebrity chef restaurants for cocktail parties, dinner receptions or exclusive launches
  •  A unique museum for opening ceremonies, keynote addresses or cocktail parties
  •  The glass structures set in the Marina Bay that are home to international retail and entertainment brands


2) Casino

Many find it surprising that the casino represents less than 5% of the overall floor area of all of Las Vegas Sands Integrated Resorts. What is not surprising is that LVS operates its casinos with integrity and under the strict standards of government gaming control boards as well as the standards required of a highly regulated international public company. The LVS casino targets affluent international visitors and provides a premium entertainment experience for MICE delegates and other visitors. The revenue generated by the casino facilitates LVS investment in compelling non-gaming elements of the IR that attract MICE delegates.


3) Hotel & SkyPark

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel consists of three unique hotel towers crowned by the magnificent Sands SkyPark. With over 2,500 luxury rooms and suites, Marina Bay Sands Hotel is the biggest hotel in Singapore. The rooms offer views of the South China Sea or Marina Bay along with the Singapore skyline.

The Sands SkyPark is an architectural masterpiece sitting on top of the three hotel towers at Marina Bay Sands. This 1.2 hectare tropical oasis is longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall and as long as four-and-a-half A380 jumbo jets. The Sands SkyPark sits 200 meters in the sky and features 3 exclusive restaurants, a 150 meter infinity swimming pool, a public cantilever and beautiful landscaping. MICE event organizers can take advantage of the unique SkyPark to create unforgettable experiences. Possible events could include press conferences, dinner receptions, cocktail launches and even fashion shows.

The SkyPark is just one example of how organizers of MICE events at an LVS IR can utilize other elements of the IR outside of the MICE facility to create unique events that will increase attendance. The Chanel fashion show and the Russia-Singapore Business Forum are two events which we hosted at the Sands SkyPark:

Chanel Cruise 2010/2011

Chanel presented its latest 2010/2011 Cruise collection at the Sands SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands on 17 November, 2011. Not only was it Chanel’s largest catwalk show in the region to date, it was also its first fashion show held 200 meters up in the sky. Over 600 guests attended the event, including Chanel’s top clients, local and regional media and celebrities. The evening started with a cocktail party where guests were served drinks and a wide choice of canapés prepared by the Marina Bay Sands’ banquet team. By nightfall, the venue transformed into a fashion catwalk and dance floor as guests were treated to the latest Chanel collection and danced to the beat of DJ Aldrin’s music. This event was to celebrate Chanel’s largest and the first fashion duplex in Southeast Asia, located at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.


Russia-Singapore Business Forum

The Russia-Singapore Business Forum is a government-backed forum which promotes ties between nations. Top Russian business leaders attended the 5th Russia-Singapore Business Forum at Marina Bay Sands from 26-29 September. Meetings were held in the Marina Bay Sands conference facilities rooms. One of the highlights was a dinner reception on the SkyPark which featured amazing views of the Formula One race 200 meters below.


4) Entertainment

Both business and leisure tourists have numerous entertainment and lifestyle options to choose from at an LVS Integrated Resort.  Entertainment venues range in size from 600 to 15,000 seats.  LVS is known for its world class theater shows featuring productions by Cirque de Soleil, Disney and Andrew Lloyd Webber, among others. International music acts, including Beyonce, the Black Eyed Peas and Celine Dion, thrill LVS guests on a regular basis.

In Singapore, the Broadway hit, the Lion King, will debut in the Sands Theater, with the Grand Theater presenting shorter-run shows such as concerts, award ceremonies and gala events. The flexible outdoor event plaza along the promenade next to Marina Bay will host audiences for watching events on the bay or on the plaza. The MICE team worked with Christian Dior to stage a glamorous fashion show on the Event Plaza:


Christian Dior Launch

A-list celebrities like Chinese actress Zhao Wei joined VIP guests and fashion followers at the Christian Dior fashion show at the Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza on 14 October 2010. Dior became the first luxury brand to host a grand fashion show at the Event Plaza with the Singapore city and the Marina Bay as its spectacular backdrop. This magnificent fashion show with bright lights and cameras everywhere was a celebration of the launch of the Christian Dior boutique, located at the Galleria Level of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. An impressive white tent was erected on the Event Plaza, transforming the promenade into a world-class fashion venue. Over 600 VIP guests got their first glimpse of the 2010 Fall/Winter Collection and the Dior 2010 Cruise Collection. The Sands MICE Special Events team ensured the guests were looked after during the elegant champagne cocktail soiree.

MICE delegates have many entertainment options at Marina Bay Sands. KU DÉ TA, a world renowned lifestyle destination on the SkyPark brings guests three different concepts within one outlet. It offers a restaurant serving world class cuisine, a Club Lounge with a bar and intimate dance floor and Poolside Terrace where guests lounge in the infinity pool, sipping their cocktails. Two of the hottest clubs with locations in New York, Miami and Los Angeles have chosen the Marina Bay Sands’ Crystal Pavilion as the venue for their most ambitious and expensive nightclubs. Floating in the middle of Marina Bay, the two clubs will play host to star-studded private parties, exclusive events and rock concerts.

Pangaea, a name synonymous with sophisticated world-class entertainment and service will occupy the first level of the southern Crystal Pavilion. Pangaea’s ultra-lounge bar will be accessible through an underwater tunnel and will host up to 500 party-goers a night. On the top level of the “floating” structure will be Avalon. In Hollywood, Avalon has hosted endless top acts on its stage and hosted annual parties hosted by the Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake. Avalon is a magnet for celebrities and is set to be the number one party venue for international jetsetters at Marina Bay Sands.



In the lead up to the opening of Avalon, Avalon At Large organized GO! – a two day mega music event on 23 & 24 September 2010, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. This was the start to a series of music events leading to the official launch of Avalon, the Hollywood super club opening in the Marina Bay Sands’ Crystal Pavilion in 2011. Set against the backdrop of the Singapore Grand Prix, the GO! music event drew a crowd of 16,000 party‐goers in an energetic, high‐octane event that showed off the promise of Avalon. On 23‐24 September, three exhibition halls in the Sands Expo and Convention Center were decked out, retrofitted with the latest sound systems, and transformed magically into a mega dance floor. Music aficionados were entertained by sought‐after DJs and live acts such as Chemical Brothers, Empire of the Sun, Above & Beyond, Flo Rida, Santigold, Major Lazer, Make the Girl Dance, Swedish House Mafia’s Steve Angello and Steve Aoki.


5) Retail / dining

With over 800,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, the shops at Marina Bay Sands are transforming the retail landscape in Singapore with the country’s first large-scale luxury shopping mall in the heart of the Central Business District. Shoppers can look forward to a refreshing mix of international luxury brands, emerging labels and new concepts, including the Louis Vuitton “island” store housed in the Crystal Pavilion. Natural sunlight bathes the passage way of the mall, illuminating the interiors through glorious glass windows. Other innovative concepts include Singapore’s first skating rink within a mall, as well as a canal, which takes visitors on a sampan boat ride through the retail belt.

Marina Bay Sands offers an extensive selection of dining outlets ranging from renowned Michelin-starred celebrity chef restaurants with a wide range of cuisines to upscale food courts featuring the finest in local foods. The seven Celebrity Chefs in Marina Bay Sands are Mario Batali (New York), Daniel Boulud (New York), Wolfgang Puck (Los Angeles), Santi Santamaria (Barcelona), Guy Savoy (Paris), Tetsuya Wakuda (Sydney) and Justin Quek (Singapore).






Through the introduction of IRs, Singapore sought to stimulate economic growth, substantially grow its tourism industry, create jobs and enhance its image. The government’s goal was to substantially expand the tourism industry by tripling tourism receipts to S$30 billion and doubling tourist arrivals to 17 million by 2015.

The benefits of an IR are substantial. Marina Bay Sands expects to hire up to 9,000 employees, the vast majority of whom will be local Singaporeans. Island-wide, Marina Bay Sands is expected to lead to the creation of over 30,000 jobs. The government estimated that in 2010, the first year of partial operation, the IRs would boost the economy by a full percentage point. Singapore was Asia’s fastest growing economy in 2010 with 14.7% GDP growth and the government expects visitor arrivals to reach 12 million for 2010.

The MICE-driven integrated resort creates wide-ranging benefits for the economy.



George Tanasijevich currently serves as General Manager / Vice President Singapore Development of Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of leading global integrated resorts developer, Las Vegas Sands Corp. A senior management executive and accomplished attorney with extensive international experience, Mr. Tanasijevich is responsible for coordinating the development of the Marina Bay Sands which will combine state-of-the-art convention and exhibition facilities, a luxury hotel, world-class gaming, entertainment, shopping and dining outlets and a museum in one landmark structure.

Mr. Tanasijevich played a central and instrumental role project managing Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s successful bid to develop Singapore’s integrated resort at Marina Bay. In this capacity, he was the company’s senior representative in Singapore overseeing a large team of professionals from the financial, legal, construction, design, operations and marketing fields.

Prior to his involvement in the company’s Singapore activities, Mr. Tanasijevich was based in the People’s Republic of China Special Administrative Region of Macao as Director of Development, responsible for the coordination of various commercial activities related to Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Cotai Strip™ projects.

Mr. Tanasijevich previously served as Senior Vice President / Equity Markets at CapitaLand Limited in Singapore, Southeast Asia’s largest real estate and hospitality conglomerate. In this role, he established and served as head of the company’s investor relations department, advised the company on stock exchange compliance matters and was a member of the management committee for the listing of Singapore’s first Real Estate Investment Trust (‘REIT’).

Prior to joining CapitaLand, Mr. Tanasijevich served as Corporate Vice President of General Growth Properties, which was at that time the second largest shopping mall REIT in the US. This followed his assignment as General Growth’s senior attorney, responsible for heading the company’s litigation group and managing litigation across 38 states.

Mr. Tanasijevich has an MBA from the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business, a law degree from Loyola University of Chicago, where he was a member of the law review, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the board of directors for the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce and was named by Global Gaming Business as one of its “25 People to Watch” for 2009.



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