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Cost concerns raised at Vinexpo Singapore

Vinexpo’s inaugural Singapore trade show has been hailed a success, but there was concern over the rising costs of doing business in the country.

The show floor was packed and buzzing with visitors from almost every country in Southeast Asia (SEA), as Vinexpo returned to Asia, setting-up camp in the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) for three days from 23-25 May.

“Our strategy of coming back to Asia is validated,” said Rodolphe Lameyse, CEO of Vinexposium.

Moving away from Hong Kong – Vinexpo’s Asia base of 25 years- was part of the new strategy under CEO Rodolphe Lamayse, and it seems to have paid off.

“It’s been very positive,” said Lameyse. “The market response from exhibitors and trade buyers across the SEA region is amazing. It surpassed our expectations.”

Close to 10,000 professionals from 64 countries attended the trade show, with the top five countries represented being Singapore, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and even Laos.

On the show floor, the top five exhibiting producers from France, Italy, Australia, USA, and Spain, occupied the basement two hall at MBS. In contrast, registration counters, three masterclass rooms for Vinexpo Academy, and a spacious Union de Grand Cru Bordeaux tasting room were hosted on level one.

Vinexpo Academy held 40 sessions, including masterclasses headlined by Alvaro Palacios, Elaine Chukan Brown and Laura Catena and a series of panels addressing issues of sustainability, charting the market trends in Korea and Hong Kong, and exploring the future of mixology.

The Lion City’s restaurants and clubs, like 67 Pall Mall and Mandala Club, were packed with exporter and essential client dinners and regional receptions, which started on Sunday, 21 May and continued for the week. The wine associations like Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne to Jurade de St Emillion also used the influx of key wine personalities to host lavish induction dinners.

The trade show will move to Hong Kong in 2024 and will make a return to Singapore in 2025. While Lameyse is heartened by the overwhelming response, he expressed concern about the rising costs of doing business in Singapore.

“This (the cost) is a real concern indeed,” said Lameyse. “If it becomes an overwhelming issue for our exhibitors, it might also become an issue for us.”

Rooms at Marina Bay Sands were priced at S$1000 (£598) per night and escalated to S$2000 (£1197) on the eve of the trade show. Furthermore, the associated exhibitor cost of fridges and TV hires (quoted at S$2000) came at a massive premium as well.

Nimbility hosted 10 of their wineries on a Pavilion stand and budgeted 33% more than Hong Kong 2020, a show which was later cancelled. They ended up paying more than 50% over the Hong Kong price.

Lameyse plans to address the issue in his exit debrief with the Singapore Tourism Board and other stakeholders and added: “We shall make every effort to contain costs in the future.”

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