The tourism stakes are high and Singapore is trying to woo more visitors. It is betting on the two integrated resorts due to open next year, and also spinning for a more diverse crowd.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said that it is on track to meeting its target of attracting 9 to 9.5 million visitors to the city this year. Despite the economic downturn, 6.2 million tourists visited Singapore in the first 8 months of this year.
STB’s strategy ahead is to woo more high net worth individuals, or those with at least a million US dollars to invest.
“Singapore is limited by its size and capacity and therefore, in that case, we need to make sure that we attract the right kind of audience,” said Chew Tiong Heng, director, Destination Marketing, Singapore Tourism Board.
“While we will not neglect people with smaller budgets, we want to make sure there are options to attract people in the high net worth category,” Mr Chew added.
STB told a media conference that Singapore can no longer compete on price, as operating cost is higher here compared with its neighbours. What it can offer is more value and activities for visitors, on top of high profile events like the Youth Olympic Games, the F1 race and F1 Rocks concerts in 2010.
Mr Chew said: “2010 is going to be an exciting year. It is going to be a year where we are going to present a transformed Singapore to the world, so that if they find it a bit more costly to come to Singapore, they understand that there is a reason why that is so.
“So in terms of the value proposition that we are giving to consumers henceforth, it will be something of a very first world experience that they get in this part of the world.”
Singapore is also working with its neighbours to boost the cruise industry and attract long-haul visitors to the region. The Pacific Asia Travel Association said that Asia Pacific is a top choice for over two-thirds of travellers from the UK and US.
STB is also looking at promoting Singapore more aggressively at emerging markets like the Middle East, and it expects to launch a branding campaign there over the next one to two years. However, STB noted that competition is heating up.
“Seoul is very aggressive in positioning itself as a convention city. Thailand is also very aggressively positioning itself as an exhibition city,” said Jacqueline Ng, director, Industry Development Division, Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau.
STB hopes to build on 2008, a record year for Singapore’s business travel industry with 3 million business visitors – garnering S$6 billion in tourism receipts.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 21 Oct 2009