$9M Singapore promotion targets biz market

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SINGAPORE -- Singapore launched a $9 million promotion to attract business travelers.

Called "Make It Singapore," the campaign targets the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions markets through a selection of incentives designed to make Singapore a more attractive choice for companies that do business in Asia.

The incentives include free hotel rooms, discounts on food and beverages, discounted fares on Singapore Airlines and co-op dollars from the Singapore Tourism Board for marketing costs.

In order to qualify for the discounts and incentives, bookings must be confirmed by Dec. 31, and the event must take place by Dec. 31, 2007.

To get the message out, a global print advertising and direct-mail campaign will target key markets such as Australia, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, the U.K. and the U.S.

According to Lim Neo Chian, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board, in 2002 Singapore welcomed 1.5 million business travelers who spent $1.2 billion at hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions.

The campaign aims to increase the number of business travelers to 1.8 million in 2005 and boost spending to $1.7 billion, Chian said.

"Singapore's reputation as a regional business hub presents us with tremendous opportunities," said Chian. "Additionally, the business challenges Singapore has faced this year have resulted in industry players coming together and working [more closely] to help us overcome these challenges."

Singapore was declared SARS-free on May 31 by the World Health Organization and has maintained a high level of vigilance against a possible comeback of the virus that claimed 33 lives in the country. The outbreak caused billions of dollars in economic damage, particularly to tourism and related industries.

Under the promotion, the corporate meeting or convention must generate at least 400 room nights to qualify for the discounts. In addition, the trade show must have at least 1,000 confirmed exhibition visitors, with 50% foreign exhibitors.

Once these criteria are met, hotels will offer one complimentary room for every 25 booked, with a maximum of five free rooms for the event's duration. Room upgrades and late checkout are available.

In addition, hotels and other meetings venues will discount food and beverage costs for opening receptions and offer lower rates on so-called teardown or set-up days.

Approximately 40 hotels, the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Center and Singapore Airlines, among others, are participating in the promotion.

For information about the promotion, go to www.visitsingapore.com/mice or e-mail [email protected].

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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