Exhibition World Issue 5 - 2018 - Page 50

Singapore years. It is moving away from large- scale events that cover a wide range of categories towards smaller, more focused events,” says Cochrane. “In the longer-term, Singapore’s future will centre on conference-led exhibitions. Singex’s Fintech Festival is a good example of where the industry is headed.” 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 “return on engagement” that exhibitions need to provide their stakeholders. “All experiences are morphing together. Conferences add concerts, meetings add new styles of collaboration, trade shows add consumer elements,” says Arlando. “The shift towards festivalisation also incorporates the strategy of co-locating ancillary events before, during, and after large signature conventions or conferences.” Others in Singapore’s exhibitions sector feel that festivalisation is overplayed but still believe the city’s innovation prowess is world class. Eddie Choi, executive director of Milton Singapore, says: “Tech-driven innovation has been a mantra of the country and it’s an identity that has been established quite successfully. “However, do we see a connection between this tech and innovation development within the exhibition industry? In my opinion – no. The economic model of the exhibition industry remains very traditional in that it’s built upon physical space. “We are indeed seeing a lot of FinTech-type events held in Singapore, but they are a conference type of activation, not expo.” Where there is less dispute is in Singapore’s pioneering role in training and education for the industry. “Milton sees Singapore as a very promising talent hub. There is a fantastic language skill-set able to communicate with east and west,” 48 Issue 5 2018 Singapore intends to occupy the higher rungs of the ladder when it comes to business event innovation. says Choi. Singapore’s commitment to industry education and the harnessing of talent was seen recently with the signing of an MoU between local industry association Saceos and UFI. Both associations agreed to a joint Asia Pacific Executive Development Programme’ with an “industry-first recognised certification”. It will be unveiled at the ‘UFI Asia Pacific Congress 2019 in Japan. Kai Hattendorf, Ufi’s MD, said the collaboration with Saceos will tap into research and nurture more industry professionals in Asia and worldwide. 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. “There is much to admire about Singapore’s exhibition industry,” says UFI’s Cochrane. “It has an excellent portfolio of venues, world-class supporting infrastructure and strong backing through STB [Singapore Tourism Board]. “The industry there is also driven by a dynamic group of professional event organisers including UBM Asia/ Informa, Reed, and Singex.” Eddie Choi, whose Milton operation also has its global creative arm Mills based in Singapore, says the city state’s role as a strategic hub is promising. “We don’t see Singapore as an independent market but a strategic base and command centre. I believe many companies share the same strategy.” w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk