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An In-depth Comparative Analysis of Seoul and Singapore, World’s Greatest Convention City 4. A Comparative Analysis of Key MICE-Related Programs

4. A Comparative Analysis of Key MICE-Related Programs

1. Major MICE Programs of Singapore

1) Urban Marketing Programs

Developing visitor-friendly tourism brand ? ’YourSingapore’
Singapore Tourism Board (STB), which created ’YourSingapore’ as the city’s tourism brand in 2010, emphasizes to prospective visitors that they can sublimate the diverse cultures, foods, tastes, and tourism resources provided by Singapore into their unique experiences, and tries to convince them that Singapore is the best travel destination as it provides a variety of traveler-customized experiential programs. With the brand launch, STB distributed content for free individual travelers(FIT) through YouTube, publicizing the fact that it is possibile to experience a differentiated and attractive lifestyle by presenting “All Work + All Play” video showing that people can enjoy both vacation and business in Singapore.

Conducting customized marketing grounded on profits created in different markets through tourism statistics research and analysis
Using tourism statistics conducted each year by STB, Singapore deploys ’customised integrated marketing campaigns’ that fits ‘YourSingapore’ to major target countries. For example, a survey of tourism practice for the last three years shows that Australian tourists visit Singapore not as an independent travel destination but as a stopover and that they are attracted by the various cultures and foods of Singapore. Based on such results, STB tried to convince Australain visitors through the campaign of ‘Get lost and find the real Singapore’ that Singapore is a travel destination where various experiences are available. Also, STB launched fashion products (sandals, bags etc.) inspired by Singapore by inviting Australian-born designer Sue Di Chio and awakened curiosity of potential Australian visitors by showing them on SNS (Facebook, Instagram etc.) and on the web. Most of Chinese tourists visit Singapore in group tour packages. Recent surveys indicate that the number of free independent travelers from China is increasing and they want new and profound experience of Singapore. Based on this, STB is promoting Singapore through the campaign of “从心发现” (New Discoveries). Such a marketing method takes its cue from the fact that the reason and purpose of visiting Singapore differ with the nationality of visitors and focuses on creating tourism revenue through the visitors.

2) Marketing program designed to support the hosting of events

Hosting international events through Conference Ambassador that uses the influence of opinion leaders in different areas
As soon as it launched in December 2006 Conference Ambassador Programme (CAP), STB appointed 280 Conference Ambassadors from among specialists, celebrities, and opinion leaders of Singapore. STB makes all-out efforts to maintain its reputation as an international MICE venue by hosting MICE events to Singapore through the program. Conference Ambassadors tap into the influence and network that they have in the international associations in their field of operation to work to bring to Singapore international events held by related associations and agencies. For example, Dr. Choo Teck Chuan, who is one of the Conference Ambassadors, played a crucial role in bringing to Singapore 2014 International Dental Exhibition and Meeting. CAP is run by STB and SECB as a closed membership and performs an important part in hosting international meetings in Singapore.

3) Financial support program

Strategic financial support system designed to foster MICE industry in the mid-to-long terms
Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau (SECB) is supporting the upgrade of the competitiveness of MICE industry through various channels in order to satisfy the rapidly changing and diversifying needs and promotes event operation and participation through various subsidy programs. Programs that SECB implements in the respective areas of M, I, C, and E are as follows.

① Approved International Fair
It is a program for approving fairs which SECB selects by examining their international reputation and economic effects. An approved fair can post approval logo on its homepage etc. to upgrade its reliability and promotional effect with audience and exhibitors, while tax exemption or reduction is given to local exhibitors. To qualify for approval, a fair must satisfy the five following requirements as specified by SECB.

■ It is held through PEO (Professional Exhibition Organizer) and satisfies international standard.
■ It presents innovative products and services that represent a specific industry.
■ It generates profits through trade in the industry and creates added value through business with partner companies.
■ It has hosted minimum overseas exhibitors and audience while securing an exhibition venue.
■ It has successfully hosted at least one fair in Singapore.
As for tax reduction or exemption, Economic Expansion Incentives stipulates that up to S$100,000 (81,320,000 won) in related expenditures qualifies for a tax reduction or exemption of maximum 200% of the expenditures 4) without an approval from SECB, while more than S$100,000 can qualify for benefits only by passing an SECB audit of expenditures.

② Business Events in Singapore, BEiS
To foster and establish quality events and encourage development of new contents, SECB supports not only marketing & promotion, but also finance. Firms, companies, and associations that hold events which fall under the categories of M.I.C.E are eligible for support, while SECB decides whether it will prove support or not, based on several factors related to event content, brand, status of participants (mainly overseas participants). An event subsidy is paid after the event, and if a company selected as eligible is to receive a subsidy to an event, it must submit accounting data on the finalized subsidy created by a third party after the event is over. And the subsidy is paid after SECB reviews the submitted accounting data.

③ In Singapore Incentives & Rewards (INSPIRE)
As for incentives and rewards, a program is available for India and China. As a support program implemented through the cooperation between SECB and the seven tourism and MICE operators of Singapore, it is an incentives & rewards event that is composed of Indians and Chinese. The so-called “INSPIRE“ program differentiates subsidies with the number of staying days, while incentives groups are provided with special packages linking various tourism spots and leisure activities in Singapore as well as aviation, F&B, and shopping vouchers. INSPIRE participants are the seven operators directly related to Singaporean MICE: the Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airline, Sentosa Leisure Group, Gardens by the Bay, Resort World Sentosa, Singapore Turf Club, and Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

④ Singapore MICE Advantage Program (SMAP)
As a support program for MICE professionals and overseas participants that works with SECB, the Changi Airport Group, and Singapore Airline, it classifies MICE events into the four types of meetings and incentives, conventions, exhibitions, and trade conferences, all the while providing benefits for events that satisfy requirement for size of participation. Event participants selected as beneficiaries of SECB can receive various event-specific supports including airport and aviation provided by the Changi Airport and Singapore Airline. Event organizers are provided with various supports including subsidy to event budget and flying tickets for invited overseas buyers.

4) Program for linking Singaporean participants to tourism

Developing tourism-linked program designed to increase spending by participants through Business Tourism Development office of SECB
In order to simultaneously develop and foster MICE and tourism such as accommodating capacity, alliance, and infrastructure related to BTMICE, SECB has Business Tourism Development, through which SECB conducts strategic planning, marketing, development and implementation of PR program, development of related tourism program and concepts designed to maximize BTMICE visitor experiential programs. Tourism-linked programs basically work with the motto of “YourSingapore” and aim at ‘Quality Tourism“. And to double visitors’ access to and use of business & MICE events and accessory activities, ”MORE THAN JUST BUSINESS” is linked to the homepage, thus providing related information and thereby arouses curiosity through such sections as dining in the city, shopping spree, late into the night, and extend visitors’ stay for different activities.

Also, by providing through its homepage a pocket guide dedicated to BTMICE which carries information, SECB provides information for drawing up a preliminary plan so that the participants can create a preliminary plan to ensure that quality time is spent in Singapore according to the motto of “ALL WORK + ALL PLAY”. While information is divided into 6 categories, it presents as simple and palatable activities (such as shopping, F&B, culture, and entertainment) which BIMICE participants can enjoy by visiting relevant areas in a punctual manner, and “MUST DO, MUST BUY, MUST EAT”.

2. Key MICE Programs of Seoul
1) Urban marketing program

Promoting ‘Seoul: your complete Convention City’
Since 2009, the next year of its launch, Seoul Convention Bureau has conducted promotion and marketing of Seoul as a MICE city through ‘Seoul: your complete Convention City’ which assumes a perfect city as a MICE host. It is also adopted for various promotional materials provided by Seoul Metropolitan Government and its participation in overseas MICE fairs.

2) Marketing program for supporting the hosting of events

Operating Total Support System for Hosting MICE ? providing directions for the hosting effort from creation of a proposal to committee members’ visit for an inspection, presentation clinic, and payment of general costs
Through STO, Seoul conducts a total MICE hosting support for organizations that want to host international meetings in Seoul. Especially for associations and organizations that lack professional skills required to host international meetings such as planning, administrative services, and presentation, the program provides directions for the full gamut of the hosting efforts from creation of a proposal, committee members’ visit for inspection, presentation clinic, and payment of general costs. Total Support System for Hosting MICE is performed in phases from preparation involving planning the hosting of an event and strategy consulting, to implementation involving the clinic for event-hosting proposal, and finalization involving support for overseas joint hosting efforts.

3) Administrative Support Program

Operating a subsidy for the hosting and holding of international meetings, corporate meetings, and incentives

Seoul Convention Bureau runs a program that provides event size and phase-specific subsidies to organizations that host and hold in Seoul international meetings, corporate meetings, and incentives. As for international meetings, SCB operates a support system for international meetings hosted in Seoul by international organizations and other organizations, while running a support program for events and incentives held by business or associations with certain minimum size of participation from foreigners with regard to corporate meetings and incentives.

① Supporting international meetings
As far as support for international meetings is concerned, it provides a subsidy of up to 100 million won for the hosting efforts, promotion, and event implementation. The support program focuses on those events with minimum 50 foreign participants and greater effects from their implementation.

② Support program for corporate meetings and incentives
As for support for corporate meetings and incentives, SCB provides up to 50 million won in kind in the categories of support for hosting, promotion, and event implementation, designed to upgrade satisfaction with cultural performances and tourist souvenirs.

4) Seoul’s program for linking participants to tourism

Expecting synergy with MICE through information on specialized tourism spots in Seoul
With a view to increasing added value of MICE industry, STO provides participants with information on selected tourist destinations in Seoul. STO provides through its homepage information on recommended sites in total 20 categories (shopping, foods, streets, culture, arts, health, traditional markets etc.) and its business traveler’s guidebook describes the five major areas of City Hall, Yoido, Yongsan, Gangdong, and Gangnam. Recommended sites include a great variety ranging from historical sites such as Insadong, National Museum of Korea, and Gyeongbokgung to Hongdae and Itaewon, and with a focus on typical MICE participants, STO provides concise information on visits that can be enjoyed within the host city in a short period of time following the termination of business and event participation.

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