2023年4月14日金曜日

SINGAPORE WELCOMING 2.9 MILLION VISITORS IN Q1, TWO-THIRDS OF PRE-PANDEMIC NUMBERS

SINGAPORE WELCOMING 2.9 MILLION VISITORS IN Q1, TWO-THIRDS OF PRE-PANDEMIC NUMBERS

@Jackie San


SINGAPORE - Singapore welcomed more than 2.9 million visitors in the first quarter of 2023, about two-thirds of pre-Covid-19 numbers, as the recovery of the tourism sector continues.

The number is 62 per cent of 2019’s first quarter figure of 4.7 million visitors, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Wednesday.

While the total number of visitors has not caught up, those who came here stayed longer – an average of 3.97 days, up from 3.34 days in 2019.

STB said it will work with stakeholders to ensure that Singapore has a good mix of high-quality attractions, hotels, events, tour experiences and other offerings to secure Singapore’s tourism future.

To showcase even more of Singapore, STB and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) are partnering to launch a $10 million Singapore On-screen Fund to support the creation of entertainment content that spotlights and markets Singapore.

This is to keep Singapore “top of mind when travellers pick that next destination”, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan. He was speaking on Wednesday at the opening of STB’s Tourism Industry Conference, held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Selected media conglomerates, major streamers and production studios with regional or global networks will be invited to apply for the fund.

Proposed projects must be set in Singapore and launched before the first quarter of 2027, with these TV and film projects – which spotlight and market Singapore to global audiences – receiving funding for up to 30 per cent of the costs, including production and marketing expenditures.

Mr Tan cited Singapore’s support of projects such as the 2018 Hollywood film Crazy Rich Asians and, more recently, the hit K-drama series Little Women and HBO’s Food Affair With Mark Wiens, as examples of how branded entertainment can be a powerful tool to capture and grow mindshare beyond traditional channels.

“With this joint fund, we hope to catalyse production of major film and TV projects set in Singapore, and made in collaboration with international media and entertainment partners,” he said.

This will provide home-grown talents opportunities to work with their international counterparts and allow their people and companies to grow capabilities and increase global exposure, he added.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, STB chief executive Keith Tan said that the On-screen Fund is not meant to drive immediate conversions to travel, but to move beyond traditional media outreach methods to media such as streaming platforms and “make sure that Singapore is appearing in front of people’s eyeballs”.

“Many other destinations are competing with us or throwing a lot of effort and manpower into boosting the destination’s attractiveness... we need to do the same, but we need to do it smartly as well,” he said.

As travel recovers, Singapore will continue to work with stakeholders to focus on six key areas, added Mr Keith Tan who spoke at the same event.

This includes become a leading Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) destination, a top culinary destination and an ideal family-friendly destination.

Market segments and areas of opportunity that are piquing STB’s interest include solo female travellers, as well as spectators who travel around the world for sporting events such as football, cricket or cycling.

Entertainment and lifestyle-related events are also an area of interest. Mr Keith Tan said that STB has observed that there is a growing tendency for people to spend money and travel to go to a different city for an entertainment or lifestyle event.

“We are exploring possible partnerships with globally influential event promoters around the world to anchor more of their events and branded IP (intellectual property) here in Singapore,” said Mr Keith Tan.

“We want to curate such events better so that there are multiple peaks in a year, beyond F1... we hope to create a few more peaks around different sorts of sports, entertainment or lifestyle events,” he added, citing examples such as South-east Asia’s largest art fair ART SG and the Singapore Food Festival.

Separately, STB is also working on developing the first global sustainability standards for the Mice and attractions industries, in collaboration with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers, and Association of Singapore Attractions.

These industry standards will be launched progressively from 2024.

A new Tourism Careers Campaign has also been soft-launched with the aim of inspiring locals to join the sector.

While the total tourism workforce has recovered to 66,000 as at December 2022 – or around 80 per cent of 2019’s pre-Covid-19 levels – Mr Keith Tan noted that many industry players are still suffering serious manpower issues.

He highlighted the need to drive productivity and innovate to alleviate labour needs. Hence, to help attractions on their digital journey, an Attractions Tech Roadmap will be launched in the second quarter of 2023.

The guide will help attractions digitalise and transform their key business functions such as customer service, sales and marketing.

In January, STB announced that international visitor arrivals to Singapore are expected to hit 12 million to 14 million in 2023, with full tourism recovery expected by 2024.

Tourism receipts are also anticipated to net $18 billion to $21 billion.

In 2019, the Republic saw a record 19.1 million visitors and $27.7 billion in revenue.


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@Jackie San

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