Dec 25, 2012

Singapore - Tourism strategy to focus on getting visitors to spend more

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SINGAPORE: Singapore's tourism strategy will not only involve increasing visitor numbers.

Second Trade and Industry Minister S Iswaran says there will be more emphasis on deriving higher economic yield from tourists.

This means planning for events and activities to generate extra spending from visitors.

International events like the Formula One Grand Prix have nudged Singapore closer to becoming a truly global destination.

The night race has attracted over 150,000 visitors, spending more than S$560 million within the first few years of its staging.

Mr Iswaran thinks the numbers can improve, if more careful focus is placed on sideshow activities to pull in more tourist dollars.

"The important thing is what are the sort of supporting, or naturally complementary activities which will strengthen the value proposition and the experience of the Formula One race in Singapore? So, one can envisage, for example, lifestyle events, fashion events, you know, maybe the watch industry, maybe the fashion industry and so on, coming in," he said.

Mr Iswaran says the tourism strategy centres around three "C's" - content, clients and connectivity.

Singapore attractions and tourism infrastructure must offer enough content to lure visitors.

The River Safari, home to pandas 'Kai Kai' and 'Jia Jia', will officially open in 2013, and it is expected to do its part in charming tourists.

Where clients are concerned, the key is to study important market segments to see how more visitors can be brought in to Singapore.

On connectivity, the aim is to position the Republic as a regional tourism gateway for visitors.

"A very good example of this is in fact the cruise industry, because many of the cruise lines tell us, one of the attractions of Singapore is because we are also an important air hub in the region, the whole idea of fly-cruise, is very attractive. They can come in to Changi, seamlessly integrate into the cruise lines, and then from there go on a trip in the region," he said.

One area Singapore might have to work harder at improving is customer satisfaction.

A 2012 survey found that tourists were less happy with the quality of goods and services in the country, compared to before. And this is where attractions have to raise their game in order to keep people coming for more.

Walter Lim, vice chairman of the Association of Singapore Attractions, said: "We will encourage attractions to invest in their staff, look at ways of equipping them to provide better ways to sort of, tell the story, design the exhibits, as well as provide better customer service."

Older attractions are being urged to continually re-invent themselves, to keep up with new competition.

- CNA/de

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