HOW LONG HAS SINGAPORE BEEN the world’s top MICE destination? Since 1819, you could argue. That year Sir Stamford Raffles, an English civil servant, arrived on this island off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and recognized its potential as a center for trade and commerce. A treaty was signed with the ruling sultan, and the city-state of Singapore was born.
Temporarily, let’s erase the city-state of Singapore. All the skyscrapers of the Central Business District, gone. The world’s second-busiest container port, gone. The airport consistently voted the best in the world, gone. The shopping malls, the famous Raffles Hotel, the theme parks of Sentosa Island, all gone. The futuristic Gardens by the Bay, gone. Nearly two centuries of development swept away.