Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at the MICE Sustainability Summit

Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at the MICE Sustainability Summit

Mr Sukumar Verma, Vice President for Industry & Enterprise, Singapore Association for Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers


Distinguished Guests,


Ladies and gentlemen,




1. Welcome to the MICE Sustainability Summit, jointly organised by the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).


Singapore’s MICE industry is recovering strongly and is at the cusp of transformation


2. Singapore’s tourism sector, including our MICE industry – or what I prefer to call Business Exhibitions and Events (BEE) because I prefer Bees to Mice ­– is gaining momentum, with a strong pipeline of events for 2023 and beyond.


a. We welcomed over 4.5 million visitors in the first ten months of this year – around 40% of pre-COVID levels – and are on track to end the year in the higher end of our forecast of 4 to 6 million visitors in 2022.


b. Business events have contributed greatly to this recovery, bringing about significant spillover benefits to our economy.


3. Prior to the pandemic, the Business Events industry supported more than 34,000 direct and indirect jobs with a value-add of almost S$4 billion, or close to 1% of Singapore’s GDP.


4. This year we saw the return of many high-profile events, such as Gamescom Asia, Dota 2’s TI 11 finals, Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW), Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), Food and Hotel Asia, GreenTech Festival Singapore, and World Aquaculture Singapore.


a. The World Stroke Congress held at the end of October also saw the largest in-person delegation since the pandemic of over 2,000 persons.


b. In 2023 and beyond, Singapore will host Business events such as the International Trademark Association (INTA)’s Annual Meeting Live+, Rotary International Convention, and the Worldchefs Congress and Expo.


c. Gastech Exhibition & Conference, which is the world’s largest gas and LNG exhibition have also chosen Singapore as their meeting destination of choice.


d. Also, proud to say that we have events confirmed as far out as 2029!


5. Even as we prepare for these mega events, we must act decisively to address major shifts like sustainability.


a. We must play our part to build a more sustainable future, and event organisers and delegates would like to meet in a more sustainable way.


b. A recent AMEX Global Business Travel study found that 83% of meetings and events professionals say that their organisations take sustainability into account when planning meetings and events.


c. The key question is, how can Singapore prepare to meet the demands of sustainability for the future?


Sustainability sets Singapore apart as a Global-Asia node for quality events that appeal to future MICE travellers.


6. We have already made inroads in our sustainability journey.


a. To support the increased demand for sustainable options, the Singapore Hotel Association and STB launched the Hotel Sustainability Roadmap earlier this year. I had the honour of officiating that launch.


b. Our hotels have already started the hard work of building new skills, such as measuring and tracking their carbon emissions.


c. We have a strong pipeline of sustainability-related events being hosted in Singapore, such as the biennial World Cities Summit and Temasek’s Ecosperity Week.


d. These events bring leaders together to discuss and act on sustainability and testify to Singapore’s position as a regional hub for green innovation.


7. To capture increase in demand for sustainable travel options, SACEOS has also worked with STB to develop the MICE Sustainability Roadmap that will strengthen our Business Events industry’s competitiveness in this area.


a. This aligns with STB’s wider ambition to spur sustainable practices and outcomes across tourism-related industries.


b. With this Sustainability Roadmap, Singapore’s Business Events industry will strive to become Asia Pacific’s leading sustainable business event destination by 2030 and aim to reach net zero emissions by 2050.


c. We will achieve this by


i. setting tangible milestone targets

ii. developing national standards

iii. raising certification rates.


d. We have a huge mission ahead. I am glad to see it is matched by the unwavering commitment and ambition of both our private and public sectors.


8. To further benchmark our social and environmental performance against other destinations, Singapore participated in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-I) for the first time this year.


a. We scored well, amassing the highest score any new Asia-Pacific destination to the GDS-I has ever achieved since the start of the index in 2016.


The ideal location for future sustainable events and eco-friendly experiences


9. Looking ahead, Singapore will continue to lead the way in new sustainable business models, while incorporating sustainability into the DNA of our Business Events industry.


a. Today’s venue, Marina Bay Sands (MBS), is one good example of businesses embracing green operations and imbuing sustainability into the heart of its experiences.


b. MBS convention centre became the first carbon-neutral business events venue in Singapore in 2020, and has achieved numerous certifications that reinforces its commitment to sustainability.[1]


10. Today’s summit is also an example of how events can be organised more sustainably.


a. By omitting single-use plastic and materials, going paper-less, and a lunch menu comprising locally procured ingredients which results in less carbon emissions, we can all do our part to promote green practices.


11. As an innovative business event hub, Singapore is an ideal place to test-bed new sustainability event models and partnerships that could have far-reaching effects in the region.


a. STB and SACEOS, together with Informa Markets and other industry partners, set up the Global MICE Sustainability Alliance in October.


b. The alliance will explore new solutions for green events and are set to trial these green initiatives at the Food & Hotel Asia (FHA)- Food & Beverage event in 2024.


12. We hope to see more of such industry partnerships, as this is a journey where collaboration is key.


Singapore Government will support Business Events players in their sustainability journey


13. For businesses and professionals in the business events industry, STB will continue to partner and support you through this transition to raise standards and awareness of best practices in sustainability.


14. The industry can also lean on a range of STB resources such as industry guides and white papers to learn about best practices for green events.


15. I encourage business event organisers and companies to tap on initiatives within the Tourism Sustainability Programme (TSP) such as the Business Improvement Fund, Training Industry Professionals in Tourism and Singapore Tourism Accelerator.


a. These programmes will help our industry


i. achieve green certification

ii. raise the expertise of employees in sustainability skills

iii. develop innovative sustainability solutions to host more sustainable events.




16. The launch of our MICE Sustainability Roadmap is a significant step for Singapore’s business events industry.


17. Thank you SACEOS for partnering us on this journey to become APAC’s leading sustainable MICE destination by 2030.


18. I wish everyone a fruitful time at the MICE Sustainability Summit. Thank you.




[1]                 The Marine Bay Sands Convention Centre has received the Platinum certification for the Events Industry Council’s Sustainable Event Standards for Venues, and ISO 20121 Sustainable Events Management System certification.

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