Why the festivalisation trend is sweeping through Singapore
Transforming business events into festivals is one of the innovative steps shaping Singapore, writes Martin Donovan, editor of Mix â" Asiaâs Creative Meetings Magazine.
High on the risk chart when it comes to innovation must be to create a festival out of a business event, giving it all the trappings of a youthful, breezy gathering of tech entrepreneurs while maintaining a core exhibition.
Yet thatâs what Singapore has managed to pull off as the city stateâs monetary authority puts the final details to the organisation of Singapore Fintech, now in its third year and due to be held Nov ember 12-16 at Singapore Expo.
While some welcome the âfestivalisationâ of business events, others see it as a format more suitable for conferences and not in the realm of exhibitions where revenue from floor space is king.
For industry observers, however, the success of the Fintech Festival, which is organised in partnership with the local banking association and SingEx Holdings, is another sign of Singaporeâs standing as a hub in the ASEAN group of nations and as a world leader in business innovation.
Mark Cochrane, Asia Pacific regional manager for Ufi, sees this being brought about thanks to a formula based on partnership between government, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau and local industry associations.
âSingaporeâs exhibition industry is one of the most mature in Asia and it has grown to be the second largest in Southeast Asia â" behind only Thailand,â says Cochrane.
Thailandâs dominance in hosting big trade exhibit ions is matched by Singapore carving a powerbase in the type of innovation exemplified by the Fintech Festival and pioneering steps in exhibition industry training and education.
âThe exhibition industry in Singapore has been evolving in recent years. It is moving away from large-scale events that cover a wide range of categories towards smaller, more focused events,â says Cochrane.
âIn the longer-term, Singaporeâs future will centre on conference-led exhibitions. Singexâs Fintech Festival is a good example of where the industry is headed.â
Hardly surprising then that Aloysius Arlando, CEO of SingeEX Holdings, which hosts the Fintech Festival, is a strong believer in how Singapore needs to drive the âreturn on engagementâ that exhibitions and other business need to give its stakeholders.
âAll experiences are morphing together. Conferences add concerts, meetings add new styles of collaboration, trade shows add consumer elements,â says A rlando. âThe shift towards festivalisation also incorporates the strategy of co-locating ancillary events before, during, and after large signature conventions or conferences.â
Others in Singaporeâs exhibitions sector feel that the festivalisation trend is being overplayed but still believe the cityâs innovation prowess is world class.
Eddie Choi, executive director of Milton Singapore, says: âTech-driven innovation has been a mantra of the country and itâs an identity that has been established quite successfully.
âHowever, do we see a connection between this tech and innovation development within the exhibition industry? In my opinion â" no. The economic model of the exhibition industry remains very traditional in that itâs built upon physical space,â says Choi.
âWe are indeed seeing a lot of FinTech-type events held in Singapore, but they are a conference type of activation, not expo or trade exhibition. â
Where there is le ss dispute is in Singaporeâs pioneering role in training and education for the industry. âMilton sees Singapore as a very promising talent hub. There is a fantastic language skill-set and so ready to communicate with east and west,â says Choi.
Singaporeâs commitment to industry education and the harnessing of talent for the exhibitions sector was seen recently with the signing of an MoU between local industry association Saceos and UFI.
Both associations agreed to develop a joint Asia Pacific Executive Development Programmeâ with and âindustry-first recognised certificationâ that is set to be unveiled at the âUFI Asia Pacific Congress 2019 in Japan.
Kai Hattendorf, Ufiâs managing director, said the collaboration with Saceos will tap into research and nurture more industry professionals in Asia and worldwide.
Andrew Phua, director of exhibitions and conferences with Singapore Tourism Board, said after the signing: âThe new programme wil l strengthen Singaporeâs position as the Asia-Pacific hub for MICE training and development.â
Countries and territories in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have some of the most remarkable economic growth rates in the world. Amid this growth, Singapore intends to occupy the higher rungs of the ladder when it comes to business event innovation.
âThere is much to admire about Singaporeâs exhibition industry,â says Ufiâs Mark Cochrane. âIt has an excellent portfolio of venues, world-class supporting infrastructure and strong backing from the government through STB [Singapore Tourism Board].
âThe industry there is also driven by a dynamic group of professional event organisers including UBM Asia/Informa, Reed, Kolnmesse and Singex.â
Eddie Choi, whose Milton operation also has its global creative arm Mills based in Singapore, says the city stateâs role of a strategic hub is promising. âWe donât see Singapore as an independent market but a strategic base and command centre. I believe many companies share the same strategy.â
Martin Donovan is the Editor of MIX â" Asiaâs Creative Meetings Magazine, based in Hong Kong.
Exhibition World Guest Author
Exhibition World hosts great guests on its pages. Our Expert Opinion section is a unique collection of the best ideas from the best professionals in the international events industry.
Caesars Entertainment to eliminate 200 million single-use plastic straws
10 Oct 2018
Winners of Incredible Impacts 2018 grants announced
10 Oct 2018
Skybridges pave the way for continued growth in Thailand
10 Oct 2018Source: Google News Singapore | Netizen 24 Singapore