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​​Singapore, 6 September 2018 – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is opening up new and exciting business opportunities for the tech community through its latest Tourism Innovation Challenge. Technology companies are invited to propose and develop innovative solutions to address pressing issues confronting the Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions & Exhibitions (MICE) industry. The Call-for-Proposal for this first Tourism Innovation Challenge for the MICE industry, held in partnership with the Singapore Association of Conference and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS), will run from 7 September to 14 December 2018.

Event owners and management service providers are facing increasing pressure to deliver high quality standout event experiences that MICE travellers have come to expect, with efficiency. Their key challenges lie in keeping pace with trending content topics and understanding attendee profiles and expectations to design and deliver engaging, world-class event experiences as well as improving event logistics and waste management amid manpower and resource constraints. Through a series of engagement sessions conducted with more than 80 MICE industry members, STB has identified and prioritised these key challenges into challenge statements for the Innovation Challenge (see Annex A).

STB Director of Digital Transformation Mr Poh Chi Chuan said, "MICE is one of Singapore's core tourism industries, and with Singapore being a leading business events destination, it is crucial that we help our MICE stakeholders overcome their business challenges and stay ahead of the competition. We believe technology is the key to solving some of their pertinent problems. For technology companies, including start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises, this Tourism Innovation Challenge offers a valuable platform to connect and partner MICE stakeholders to develop innovative solutions that best address the industry's needs and have the potential to be applied across the entire tourism industry."

President of SACEOS Ms Janet Tan-Collis said, "SACEOS has been working closely with the Singapore Tourism Board to introduce initiatives that can help our MICE industry meet the rising demand from corporate clients and event attendees for high quality event experiences and 'green' event practices. Our partnership with STB to launch this Tourism Innovation Challenge is one such example, and we hope it will catalyse business events stakeholders to be more innovative and adopt technology in their businesses so that the industry as a whole will continue to thrive."

Interested companies can respond with creative and scalable technology solutions tailored to address the challenge statements. The proposed solutions may be rooted in data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data integration, indoor and outdoor tracking capabilities or other relevant technologies. Proposals will be evaluated based on their ingenuity and their ability to best address the problem areas, as well as companies' track records and competencies.

The submitted proposals will go through two rounds of shortlisting. Those shortlisted from the first round can look forward to a private coaching session to refine their proposal and develop a viable product and business model. They will then have the opportunity to showcase their concepts to participating MICE stakeholders such as Professional Exhibition Organisers, Professional Conference Organisers, venue providers and booth stand contractors.  These 'matchmaking' sessions aim to help the technology solution providers get useful industry feedback and secure a suitable MICE partner for prototype trial. After this round, selected proposals will be funded by STB for up to 70% of qualifying costs, to deliver feasible prototypes for trial. 

According to Ace:Daytons Direct, a Professional Conference, Exhibition and Events organiser which had participated and won the MICE coLAB[1] organised by STB in 2014, the Innovation Challenge will speed up and smoothen the process for business events companies in sourcing for technology solutions for their business needs.

"As early as 2003, we realised there were certain business challenges that could be addressed through technology. So we started sourcing for such technology solutions, but discovered the solutions providers then did not seem to understand the needs of the MICE industry. This led us to invest heavily in developing our own MICEapp and in-house technology capabilities. Through STB's Innovation Challenge, MICE companies and technology vendors will be brought together almost at the outset to develop viable solutions, thus saving time, cost and effort," said Ms Nancy Tan, Managing Director, Ace:Daytons Direct.

The MICE Tourism Innovation Challenge is open to all Singapore-registered technology solutions providers. Interested parties are encouraged to register via https://tinyurl.com/micechallenge for the briefing session on 7 September 2018 with their company name, name of attendees and designations, and contact details.

For more details, please refer to https://www.stb.gov.sg/trade-events/Pages/Tourism-Innovation-Challenges.aspx.

In 2017, STB held Tourism Innovation Challenges for the Hotels and Travel Agents industries. To date, more than 20 solutions have been developed by technology companies in collaboration with industry stakeholders for the two industries.

[1] The MICE coLAB was the first MICE-centric Hackathon of its kind in Singapore to crowdsource for technology-enabled ideas and solutions for the MICE industry.