Exhibition World Issue 5 - 2018 - Page 49

Singapore The festivalisation trend Transforming business events into festivals is one of the innovative steps shaping Singapore - Words by Martin Donovan, Editor of Mix - Asia’s 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 that’s what Singapore has managed to pull off as the city state’s monetary authority puts the final details to the organisation of Singapore Fintech, now in its third year and due to be held from 12-16 November at Singapore Expo. While some welcome the “festivalisation” of business events, w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk 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 Singapore’s 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 partnerships “Singapore’s future will centre on conference- led exhibitions. Singex’s Fintech Festival is a good example of where the industry is headed” between government, the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau and local industry associations. “Singapore’s exhibition industry is one of the most mature in Asia and it has grown to be the second largest in Southeast Asia – behind only Thailand,” says Coch rane. Thailand’s dominance in hosting trade exhibitions is matched by Singapore carving out a powerbase in the type of innovation exemplified by Fintech and pioneering steps in exhibition training and education. “The exhibition industry in Singapore has been evolving in recent Issue 5 2018 47