Creative transformation

Singapore continues to build for the future, and lures travellers with brand new attractions as well as fresh ways to enjoy existing gems.

Singapore’s pursuit of quality tourism continues to guide how it prioritises and attracts targeted visitor profiles, grow revenue and boost the destination’s appeal as a leading city for both business and leisure in the coming year.

According to Melissa Ow, who returned to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) as chief executive in June 2023 after a three-year secondment to the Economic Development Board, the aim is to anchor high-quality and first-of-its-kind tourism concepts, while refreshing and rejuvenating existing offerings.

Well-loved sights remain in Singapore even as new attractions sprout; Peranakan houses pictured

Ow continued: “We also tap on our global network of strategic partners to develop tourism products and establish market presence.”

In September 2023, STB launched its latest marketing campaign Made in Singapore, “which showcases quintessentially local experiences in a bold and refreshing manner, with the aim to capture the mindshare of travellers and inspire them to choose Singapore as their next destination”.

STB is also focusing on branded entertainment partnerships in film, TV, music and other formats that can reach a wide audience and inspire travel to Singapore through authentic and creative storytelling.

Ow noted: “STB collaborates with media and entertainment companies, as well as celebrities, to leverage their global networks and channels.”

This includes STB’s partnership with South Korea’s Studio Dragon Corporation to promote Singapore jointly through branded content and a three-year partnership with Warner Bros Discovery to collaborate on content creation and joint marketing to spotlight and inspire travel to Singapore.

“Going forward, STB will continue to leverage our understanding of traveller profiles and work with relevant in-market partners to target the right audiences and promote Singapore as a choice destination,” the tourism chief said.

“We encourage the industry to continuously find ways to embark on digital transformation to become more efficient in their business processes, which will in turn enhance overall visitor experience.

The iconic Singapore Zoo is part of the larger Mandai Wildlife Reserves

“The strong pipeline of business and leisure offerings demonstrates Singapore’s continued appeal as a choice destination for business and leisure.

“It shows that despite geopolitical and economic uncertainties that may influence travel sentiment, Singapore retains the firm confidence and trust of our international partners as a credible, safe, and conducive place for business and leisure.”

Commenting on Singapore’s appeal, Daniel Chua, founder and chief of Aonia, an experiential communications agency, said the city is perceived as safe and would stand to benefit from in-person events.

However, organisers and suppliers will have to find new and creative ways to lower costs to be competitive at the same time, with inflationary pressures highly perceptible in Singapore.

On what would give Singapore businesses a boost in 2024, he named alignment with Singapore’s Green Plan as part of developmental plans for sure, with sustainability and the circular economy as key focal areas.

Chua noted: “MICEcarbon, a joint venture between AONIA and climate-tech firm Ureca was launched in September 2023 to help decarbonise the business events industry by providing organisers and attendees solutions to measure, incentivise, compensate and educate in regards to carbon offsets.

“The platform uses blockchain technologies to tokenise carbon credits so that these can be made more accessible and affordable.

“In terms of tourism products, I’m excited by the Mandai precinct, which showcases how clever planning allows multiple objectives to be met in an integrated and innovative tourism concept with luxury accommodation that supports nature conservation while being a profitable tourism destination,” said Chua, adding that such a combination was “quite rare in an otherwise highly urbanised country like Singapore”.

For Darren Tan, managing director of DMC World Express, which had a good 2023, the coming year “continues to look very busy and promising”.

Tan added: “We are seeing strong arrivals on our books in 1Q2024 as well as enquiries for future events in the next one to two years.

“We have had more than a few clients tell us how they appreciate the peaceful and open state of Singapore, and feel welcome here.

“I am delighted to see the opening of so many new hotels in Singapore from five-star luxury to three-star, as we need more rooms to provide more choice and value for visitors. It bodes well for the greater tourism industry in an expensive city like Singapore.”

Tan is also excited to see the development of the Mandai eco wildlife enclave coming to life and changes over on Sentosa island.

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