S'pore No. 1 global meeting place

SINGAPORE - For the second year running, Singapore hosted more international meetings than any other country or city.

Last year's count of 952 put it ahead of Japan, which hosted 731 meetings, and the United States, which had 658. In the cities category, Brussels and Vienna came in a distant second and third with 547 and 326 respectively.

In fact, Singapore hosted 10 per cent of all international meetings in 2012, according to the Union of International Associations' (UIA) global rankings.

These included 18 world congresses on a diverse range of topics from zookeeping to tobacco, gynaecology to finance.

The World Cities Summit, which brings together mayors and city leaders to discuss how to build sustainable cities, was also held here last July.

The reason for Singapore's allure as a global conference centre goes beyond just having experienced meeting planners and top-notch facilities, said a spokesman for Marina Bay Sands, which hosted over 1,800 events last year.

"Its appeal as a tourism destination is also very alluring for aspirational and elite business travellers," she added, describing the country's "holistic hospitality approach towards the meetings business".

To be included in UIA's rankings, meetings must be organised or sponsored by international organisations, or be significantly international in character.

Earlier this year, Singapore was also named Asia's top convention city for the 11th consecutive year by the International Congress and Convention Association.

It was the only Asian city in the top 10 list.

Said a Singapore Tourism Board spokesman: "Singapore's efforts are focused on attracting and developing high-stature events that feature quality content and well-differentiated experiences."

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