The Festivalization of Events Sparks Singapore Rebranding

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passion made possible, Singapore
Sea Urchins iLight art installation; photo credit @ Choi+Shine Architects

Stirring the imagination through transformational experiences has long been the mainspring of Singapore’s approach to meetings, and a recent rebranding explains why.

Singapore – Passion Made Possible is a deep dive into “how we came to be what we are,” explains Kershing Goh, regional director with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). The campaign hit the US market this past October with a series of emotionally charged films that explore the origins and influence of cultural personas called “passion tribes” on Singapore’s cultural identity and the groups that visit. “We are a spirited city fueled by passion,” Goh says, adding that planners can collaborate with some of the nearly 100 locals featured in the videos, which ultimately highlight the city-state’s alchemy of diversity.

The rebranding marks the shift from an investment-driven economy to one with a focus on innovation and comes at a time when the “festivalization” of events, or the merging of local experiences, education, entertainment and meetings, is catapulting planners into new territory and new possibilities. Festivalization is also changing how events are programmed, and the STB has partnered with Maritz Global Events to explore this new frontier. Maritz will use their Experience Design Labs technology to develop meeting planner personas based on a number of passion points and then work with the STB to develop a virtual reality program that is useful to planners.

Speaking of innovation, this year’s iLight Marina Bay Festival along the Marina Bay waterfront celebrated advances in sustainability and biomimicry, or nature-inspired innovation. Twenty sustainable light art installations transported attendees sea-to-space, including the hand-crocheted marvel “The Urchins,” designed to mimic the elegant movements of sea urchins. Sustainability-themed hubs also offered everything from workshops and sustainable fare to upcycled goods. One of the more innovative sustainability experiences to be had year-round can be found at Operation Dagger, an innovative speakeasy where “closed loop” cocktails, or zero-waste cocktails whose byproducts are circled back into other F&B offerings in creative ways, are served. Here, house-made meads and house-infused spirits are just the beginning.

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