Exploring New Asia – Singapore!
Singapore has been dubbed variously the City of Diverse Cultures, the Garden City, the Fun City, and the City for the Arts, all testaments to the destination’s broad appeal and variety of attractions.
Singapore’s attitude reflects its melting-pot population. Descended from Malay, Chinese, and Indian immigrants, Singapore’s people established various ethnic districts, from Arab Street to Chinatown and Little India, reflecting that diverse cultural fabric in the foods they offer as well as the many colorful festivals that take place throughout the year.
Besides the ethnic districts, Singapore is home to a variety of outdoor markets and bazaars, along with upscale shopping malls offering the latest fashions. Similarly, eating options run the gamut, from simple street vendors serving up ethnic specialties, to fine dining establishments and trendy outdoor cafes preparing Western and New Asian cuisine. Both pastimes are celebrated at two major annual events: The Great Singapore Sale and the Singapore Food Festival.
Visitors can choose from a number of nightlife alternatives, from discos to jazz clubs, piano lounges, pubs, and wine bars. Along the Singapore River, buskers and live bands supply nightly entertainment, while dozens of pubs and restaurants offer dining possibilities.
Singapore’s arts world is alive and well, showcasing world-class musicals, theatre productions, concerts, and art exhibits. For the nature lover, the city’s natural beauty abounds in the Botanic Gardens and a variety of parks and reserves such as the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of two rainforests in the world within city boundaries (the other is in Rio de Janeiro). The reserve contains more species of plants than the entire North American continent!
For groups visiting Singapore, this diverse culture, lush natural setting, and history provide a wealth of possibilities for special events, and the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau, a division of the Singapore Tourism Board, is ready with suggestions.
RELATED ARTICLE: PLANNING CHECKLIST
* Most of the Singapore hotels are located in the downtown area or close to it. The various areas that are clustered around include Orchard Road/Scotts Road, Marina Bay, and Singapore River/Chinatown. In addition, there are two hotels on the resort island of Sentosa, which is just 2 minutes by car across the linkway from the main island.
* More than 30,000 hotel rooms are available with many of the hotels operated by international hotel management companies including the Inter-Continental, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Shangri-la. Singapore-owned hotel companies such as Millennium & Copthorne and Meritus also operate a number of hotels within Singapore.
* The newest hotel to open is the Fullerton Singapore, which is housed in a restored 1928-vintage building in the heart of the central business district. The 400-room luxury hotel offers exceptional views, eight meeting rooms, and three ballrooms, which when combined can accommodate a dinner function for up to 480 people or 600 people theatre-style.
* Room rates for the luxury hotels range from approximately U.S.$100 for a regular room to U.S.$300 for a suite.
* For large events and meetings, there are several convention and exhibition venues to choose from. The Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre (Suntec Singapore) is located downtown and has a convention hall that can accommodate up to 12,000 persons with tiered seating. Nearby is the Raffles City Convention Center, offering 80,000 square feet of meeting space with its 18 function rooms. The largest function room can accommodate 5,000 persons theatre-style or 2,000 for a dinner. Singapore Expo is an exhibition center located near Changi Airport. It offers 645,840 square feet of unobstructed exhibition space and another 269,100 square feet outside. The site is ideal for trade shows and functions that require large column-free spaces, ground-level facilities, or display of heavy equipment.
* In addition to these facilities, many of the large hotels also offer meeting facilities.
ACCESSIBILITY AND CONNECTIVITY
* Strategically located at one of the busiest crossroads of the world, Singapore is within a six-hour flight of most Asian capitals. The location’s liberal air transportation policy has made it a regional air transport hub and an important stopover point for long-haul travelers.
* Some 65 airlines operate 3,450 weekly scheduled flights to Singapore, linking it to 146 cities in 50 countries.
* Telephones connect Singapore with nearly every country in the region, with international direct dialing service available to 220 destinations and operator-connected calls linking the island to 226 destinations.
* Singapore has six Internet access service providers offering advanced services such as Internet messaging via mobile phone, Internet paging, international roaming, online stock information, web page design, hosting, and co-location services for businesses, among others. A number of Internet retail outlets and cybercafes in Singapore offer convenient net surfing. An increasing number of hotels offer data ports with high-speed modem connection for guests to access the Internet and retrieve e-mail within the comfort of their own rooms.
Getting around Singapore is easy and inexpensive. Excellent bus services complement an efficient and modern Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system. The island’s plentiful air-conditioned taxis are metered and provide comfortable, hassle-free travel at a very reasonable cost.
* Road congestion is not an issue in Singapore. This is the result of a progressive public works policy which has the island covered with an extensive network of expressways and roads, and the MRT system connects all corners.
* Exhibitors will appreciate Singapore’s status as a free trading port, where the exchange of goods and services is virtually unrestricted.
* Goods imported for exhibitions are subject to payment of a 3 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST). However, apart from alcoholic liquors and tobacco, goods can be temporarily imported for display or use at exhibitions without payment of GST by using carnets, the Temporary Import Scheme, or the Security Deposit Scheme. More information on customs regulations can be found on the website of the Singapore Customs and Excise Department at http://www4.gov.sg/customs
CONVENTION CENTERS AND HALLS
TOTAL MEETING TOTAL EXHIBITION
NAME AREA (SQ FT) SPACE (SQ FT)
Internationa Merchandise Mart 14,500 67,250
Jurong BirdPark 3,563 1,851
Raffles City Convention Center 72,237 72,237
Singapore Expo 18,804 917,407
Singapore Indoor Stadium 31,484 31,484
Suntec Singapore International 197,954 305,332
Convention & Exhibition Centre
Singapore Productivity and 4,521 1,033
SP Auditorium 5,005 —
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