Singapore tourism is likely to end up 2015 with roughly the same number of travellers than 2014- at around 15.1 million international tourist arrivals. “We are in the lower target of our earlier forecasts for 2015 as we predicted growth in total arrivals between 0% and 3% and a growth in tourism revenues between 0% and 2%”, indicated STB Head of Communication and Public Relations, Oliver Chong during the ASEAN Travel Forum in Manila.
2015 key SG50 event -Singapore exceptional celebration of its 50th anniversary as an independent State- did not play the expected boost for the city tourism. “We encounter problems in key markets such as Malaysia and Indonesia, both suffering from declining value of their currency. However we want to focus more on raising tourism revenues more than bringing systematically more and more travellers”, added Mr. Chong. Total tourism revenues stagnated at the same high level than in 2014, at around S$23.5 billion (US$ 16.4 billion).
Haze from neighbouring Indonesia further depressed the market at the end of last year, particularly during the months of September and October. While there is little that Singapore can do, the government is working hard with its Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts to limit or better control fires in tropical forests of Sumatra and Kalimantan, mostly conducted by private interests from the palm oil industry.
SG50 did not bring massive numbers of international travellers. However it helped showcasing around the world Singapore sophistication. A SG50 show with special arts and cultural events went around the world. “Singapore Inside Out” was a showcase of Singapore’s contemporary creative talents and travelled to Beijing, London and New York before returning to Singapore at the end of the year. “It has been a huge success as we attracted 67,000 people around the world”, highlighted STB Director of Communication.
Singapore tourism strategy is to mostly focus on key markets that STB has identified as the most generating ones. They were in 2015 Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in ASEAN as well as Australia, China and India outside the region. All together, these countries generated 46% of all tourist arrivals in 2015, the equivalent of 7 to 7.2 million visitors. “This will not change in 2016 as we will continue to have integrated marketing campaigns towards the same inbound markets as we believe that they continue to represent the best growth opportunities”, told Oliver Chong.
Integrated marketing campaigns level particularly on social media communication with movies, clips, photo contests and quiz as well as dedicated websites generally involving famous personalities from each country.
In 2016, Singapore novelties will include new sports events such as the first golf championship for woman in coming March, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in April; six new exhibition events including the Asian Robotics Week while five new hotels are due to open this year in the three-to four-star segment. In the cultural segment, a lot of development occurred last year, with the opening of three new museums – National Gallery, Pinacothèque de Paris in Singapore and India Heritage Centre, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. In 2016, the rejuvenated and expanded China Heritage Centre opened its doors in January.