SINGAPORE, once the doyen of Indian MICE planners and corporate firms, is fast losing its shine.
Despite the Singapore Tourism Board’s upbeat projections about this segment’s immediate prospects, event planners and PCOs are reporting fewer numbers from India to the city state, as costs – particularly from accommodation – continue to rise.
Rajiv Kumar Singh, Nortel’s country operation leader, reported that the firm’s Indian MICE volume to Singapore had fallen 30 per cent since 2007.
He said: “The depreciation of the rupee and a slowdown in the (Indian) economy since 2011 has squeezed budgets even further since the financial crisis of 2008/2009, and Singapore is losing out, as it has now become too expensive for (Indian) MICE organisers to even consider.
“Hotel rates are the main bugbear, as Singapore (hotels) charge up to 50 per cent more than regional destinations such as Thailand or Sri Lanka.”
Singh explained that budgets had to stretch to US$65-US$70 per delegate per day in Singapore versus spending just US$25-US$35 in Thailand and Sri Lanka for similar events.
Rajesh Mahajan, an assistant general manager for special events at ICE, said that on top of India’s economic woes, emerging MICE infrastructure within India was also driving business away from popular outbound destinations such as Singapore.
“Organisers are drawn by the fact is that it is cheaper to hold a meeting domestically rather than abroad,” he said.
Read more in TTG Show Daily – IT&CM India 2012