Singapore’s art and design festivals are gaining the support of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), which is hoping to position the city-state as Asia’s design capital given its location and accessibility in the region.
Joint efforts to promote key events during the Singapore Design Week (SDW), from March 3 to 12, to the global audience are underway between STB and organisers Design Singapore Council.
Yong: Power of design tourism is something that we have to ride on
Andrew Phua, director of exhibitions and conferences with STB, said: “STB promotes the SDW through our regional offices, as well as our key partners which include design-related trade media, associations and travel agents, as part of our overseas marketing and promotional efforts to profile Singapore as a business events and leisure destination.”
At SingaPlural, SDW’s anchor event, tourists make up 15 to 20 per cent of the total 28,000 visitors.
The event’s chairman, Mark Yong, said that the “power of design tourism is something that we have to ride on, as design festivals are becoming important tourist events”, with more tourists in the recent years not only travelling to see the sights but for events and festivals as well.
Now in its sixth edition, SingaPlural has developed into a holistic festival with more global names like Uniqlo and Studio Architetto Egidio Panzera among its partners.
Yong believes the presence of internationally renowned partners will help to grow foreign attendance. “International partners have their own social media outreach programmes, their own ways of marketing (and) their own fans. With Uniqlo coming onboard this year, the (global reach) will be tremendous,” Yong said.
While Singapore has an array of year-round art and design events, and is a UNESCO Creative City of Design – a title earned in 2015 – few overseas travel specialists that TTG Asia spoke to are aware of these unique selling points.
Philippine-based Shroff Travel’s spokesperson, Kristine Shroff, opined that creating tour packages catered to design festivals or having conventions to educate and connect with travel agents could have a huge impact on drawing the design-savvy crowd from the region.
M Zaki, president of RZ Travels in California, who has not seen promotions of design festivals outside of Singapore, believes that event organisers and STB should invest more on above-the-line advertising.