Singapore Tourism Board (STB) forecasted that only 0 – 3% expected increase for visitor arrivals and 0 – 2% expected rise for tourism receipts in 2016 as tourists are spending less under the weak global economy. In response to the challenges, Singapore government is investing $700 million in the tourism industry for the next 5 years in hopes of boosting Singapore Tourism. Other industries, retail sector in particular, will also be benefited by this investment.
Singapore Intra-Asia Growth
Despite the recent volatility, Minister for Trade and Industry Mr. S. Iswaran said the industry should not neglect the long-term growth opportunities with the surging intra-Asia travel driven by increased number of outbound travel and that of Asia’s middle class. STB has been also adjusting its strategy to tackle the challenges. Instead of focusing on the quantity, STB is now focusing more on the quality of visitors – the travllers who stay longer while spending more.
A proportion of the $700 million fund will be spent on developing new attractions. The scale is however expected to be smaller than the integrated resorts, such as Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Sentosa and Gardens by the Bay. Part of the fund will also be allocated to upgrade the existing hard and soft resources to stimulate productivity, such as providing training to industry professionals, retrofitting hotels facilities and more.
Myanmar – A New Market For Singapore
The number of visitor from Myanmar to Singapore has recorded 35% growth – it has increased from 105,000 in 2010 to 425,000 in 2015. The industry players indicated
that visitors from Myanmar usually come with tour group and stay for 3 – 4 nights in Singapore for vacation. Chinatown, Universal Studios Singapore and Gardens by the Bay are the top three attractions that most of them will visit. According to Singapore
Tourism Board (STB), their travel decision is mainly influenced by friends and relatives’ recommendations and $196 million spending from these visitors was recorded between 2010 and 2014.
Despite the fact that the number is small when compared with the arrival figures from other countries, the www.miceasiaexhibition.com industry professionals are still thrilled about the trend as they reckoned that there is great potential in this emerging market. “The middle-income group is growing in Myanmar. For a start, they will go to neighbouring countries, as it is not costly as long-haul (destinations). The country is opening up and, with the new government, there is this feel-good sentiment all around.” said Mr Laurence Lee, business development manager at travel agency Hong Thai Travel Services.
Myanmar is identified by STB as one of their target markets. More and more promotions will be implemented in attracting these visitors in next 5 years. They had already contacted Myanmar outbound travel agents and banks to build up business channels via trade updates. To grow the number of business travellers, STB has also carried out promotion via social media and organized trips with Myanmar media to let them know more about Singapore. With all the efforts, the number of visitors from Myanmar is expected to keep increasing. One point to be noted is that Myanmarese is still required to apply for visa, which costs USD 23 and needs 4 working days to process, to visit Singapore.