By Deanna Ting
January 15, 2013
Resorts World Sentosa has helped put Singapore on the international meetings radar
For many, Singapore is a destination most often
associated with business. Last year, the Union of International
Associations named it the top international meeting city for the fifth year in a row. The fact that Singapore can also be an enticing - and fun - incentive
destination is often overlooked. "We've always been
acknowledged as an easy place to do business, but there's also
a rich concentration of experiences that we have, all in one
destination," says Serene Tan, regional director, Americas, for
the Singapore Tourism Board. "While we've seen a dip in
incentive groups in the last two years, we've seen groups
return. We're also very capable of hosting large incentive
groups, like Herbalife, which held its 2012 Extravaganza in
Singapore in May 2012."
Since the debut of Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World
Sentosa in 2010, the Southeast Asian island has seen even more
new developments and attractions, all designed to appeal to
travelers from around the world. From unique boutique hotels to
impressive nature attractions, it's clear that Singapore is
enticing incentive groups in more ways than one.
Back to Nature
The Gardens by the Bay, a "garden-within-a-city" attraction
that has seen more than one million visitors since opening in
June 2012, is an impressive feat of sustainable engineering. Its domed conservatories, a five-minute walk from MBS, house
more than 250,000 rare plant species, including 16-story-tall
In December, Resorts World Sentosa opened the world's largest
oceanarium, Marine Life Park, where visitors can snorkel over
an active coral reef with more than 20,000 different fish.
Ocean Suites, priced at $1,965 per night, let you "sleep with the fishes" quite literally: a floor-to-ceiling acrylic panel in each bedroom
lets you peer inside the aquarium's Open Ocean habitat.
In early 2013, a new River Safari attraction, an extension of
the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, will debut. "The different rivers here are meant to emulate the aqua systems of
different ones around the world," explains Tan.
The number of new hotels opening in Singapore continues to rise. "In the last five years, the hotel
scene has really bloomed," says Tan. She says that Singapore
had added 53,000 new hotel rooms by the end of 2012.
The 367-room eco-friendly PARKROYAL on Pickering hotel is
scheduled to open in January in Singapore's central business
district (CBD). Last fall, Singapore welcomed its first W
hotel, the 240-room W Singapore-Sentosa Cove, on the nearby
island of Sentosa, which is just minutes from downtown
In March, the 229-room East Village Hotel is set to open near
Changi International Airport and across from the bustling
Parkway Parade shopping center.
Singapore is also home to a growing number of design-driven
boutique hotels like the newly opened, 79-room Naumi Liora in
Chinatown. "Our boutique hotels have really been able to
deliver an experience that can allow them to demand a premium,"
Tan adds. Many of these new boutique hotels are housed within converted
shophouses and post-war colonial buildings in cultural
In a way, the new boutique hotels - transformations of the old
into something new - are representative of a destination
committed to perpetual evolution. "Singapore constantly
reinvents itself," says Tan. "We appeal to travelers who are open to discovering the unexpected and having brand-new experiences, and we're a city
that's constantly ahead."
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