Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry in light of the strengthening Singapore dollar, what will be the impact on plans to revive and rejuvenate the tourism and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sectors.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong
1. A stronger Singapore dollar helps dampen inflation and preserve the purchasing power of businesses and households by making imports cheaper. However, a stronger Singapore dollar may also make it more expensive for foreigners to visit Singapore.
2. Thus far, Singapore remains an attractive destination for travellers. In the first half of 2022, Singapore received 1.5 million visitor arrivals, nearly 12 times more compared to the same period in 2021, which recorded 119,000 visitor arrivals. Tourism receipts reached an estimated S$1.3 billion in the first quarter of this year, a 213% year-on-year increase over the same period last year, albeit from a lower base due to COVID-19 restrictions last year.
3. Singapore cannot compete for MICE events on cost alone. Our value proposition must rest on the quality of our products, services, experiences, efficiency, and connectivity to the region and the world.
4. We have secured a robust pipeline of MICE events in the second half of this year, including Medical Fair Asia, Food and Hotel Asia Food & Beverage, Bloomberg New Economy Forum, and Milken Institute Asia Summit 2022. We also continue to see strong interest from event organisers, which indicates that Singapore remains a choice location for world-class MICE events.
5. That said, we will still need to watch our cost competitiveness carefully. STB will continue to support event organisers through the Business Events in Singapore (BEiS) scheme, the unique leisure experiences in our In Singapore Incentives & Rewards (INSPIRE) Global scheme, and the support provided by our tourism partners through the Singapore MICE Advantage Programme (SMAP).