SGD 20 million investing to boost Singapore tourism

The partnership will see the organisations investing S$20 million to boost the Singapore experience to leisure, business and MICE audiences in more than 15 markets worldwide.

Singapore Airlines (SIA), Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) are collaborating in a two-year partnership to strengthen tourism in Singapore.

According to a joint press release by SIA, CAG and STB on Tuesday (Jun 30), the partnership is the largest collaboration among the three partners to date. The partnership will see the organisations investing S$20 million to boost the Singapore experience to leisure, business and Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) audiences in more than 15 markets worldwide.

This will be carried out through the refinement and delivery of the Singapore experience to visitors coming to and through Singapore and Changi Airport, said the press release. In addition to ongoing work in attracting leisure visitors, the partnership will also boost marketing investment for the business traveller and MICE segments.

“This partnership demonstrates our commitment to further developing our home base as a travel hub and promoting Singapore as a destination of choice,” said Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF PARTNERSHIP

“One of the key initiatives in this collaboration is developing and enhancing joint programmes that will contribute towards strengthening the global mindshare and perceptions of both Singapore and Changi Airport,” said Mr Lee Seow Hiang, chief executive officer of Changi Airport Group.

A Singapore Stopover Premium package, which is an upgraded version of the Singapore Stopover Holiday, will be introduced. Targeted at premium leisure and business travellers, the package includes stays in selected five-star hotels with breakfast and Wi-Fi, priority hotel check-in services and private transfers, privileges such as spa discounts or shopping vouchers, and access to leisure experiences across the island.

Another key feature is the enhanced Free Singapore Tour. This programme brings transit passengers on a free guided tour of Singapore’s landscape, heritage attractions and city skyline.

The upgraded programme includes longer itineraries that cover more iconic sights, photo stops, additional tour timings across day and night, and the introduction of seasonal editions during festive periods. For example, tours would include Orchard Road during Christmas and Little India during Deepavali.

Mr Lionel Yeo, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board, said: “Our airline and airport are an integral part of the Singapore experience. The new product offerings demonstrate SIA, CAG, and STB’s commitment to provide today’s discerning travellers with a more seamless and in-depth experience.”

10 MOST POPULAR CITIES FOR TRAVELERS IN 2015- Bangkok (No. 2), Singapore (No. 7), Kuala Lumpur (No. 8),

London, the city of the Tower Bridge (with a new glass walkway), drinks as dinner, royal babies and the world’s greatest tabloid headline writers, is forecast to be the most popular travel destination of 2015. Can’t say we’re surprised. MasterCard has just released its annual travel study, the Global Destination Cities Index, ranking 132 destination cities around the world in terms of total international overnight visitor arrivals and cross-border spending.

London came first in the study for the second year in a row. Bangkok lost its first place ranking in 2013, largely due to political unrest. But the report suggests that the Thai capital is showing signs of recovery and closing the gap with London. London will welcome 18.82 million overnight visitors in 2015 whereas Bangkok will receive 18.24 million. Not only will London have the most travelers, it’s estimated to see the most visitor spending, at $20.23 billion in 2015.

New York came second in visitor spending at $17.37 billion. Paris followed with $16.61 billion. London and Bangkok have taken the top two spots in the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index for the last five years. “This is an impressive achievement and it is similar qualities that have kept them both at the top,” said Eric Schneider, group head of MasterCard Advisors, Asia-Pacific. Despite their size, they are both relatively easy to navigate for a tourist, and even in Bangkok, English is often all you need to get around.

“Food and culture are also available in abundance. Finally, it’s the unique and seemingly limitless heritage, from temples to palaces in Bangkok or churches and castles in London, that keep enticing tourists to make the trip.”

Asia dominates, but lacks diversity. The ranking is heavily tilted toward Asia. Of the top 10 destinations, five are in Asia: Bangkok (no. 2), Singapore (no. 7), Kuala Lumpur (no. 8), Seoul (no. 9) and Hong Kong (no.10).

“Against a background of generally weak global economic growth and anemic pace of exports, a vibrant tourism sector is providing a powerful boost to income and job creation in Asia-Pacific,” said Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, chief economist and chair of the Academic Advisory Council at the MasterCard Center.

The report points out a lack of diversity in the source of tourism arrivals for some Asian cities. The top five visitor groups coming to Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for example, are all from the Asia-Pacific region.

Istanbul has the most diverse visitors, with half of its inbound tourists coming from 33 different countries. Diversifying sources of visitors means a higher resilience against long term economic instability, according to the report.

Among the 10 fastest growing cities in the world (based on data gathered over the last six years), seven are in Asia. Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo is first in growth with a staggering 21% surge, with Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province, following in second.

Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, ranked third in terms of growth; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, placed fifth.

Lima, Peru, is the wold’s ninth-fastest growing city, and the fastest growing city in South America.

Houston is the fastest growing city in North America since 2009 and is the only city in the United States to register double-digit growth over that period.

Top 10 destination cities for 2015 (by projected visitor arrivals)
1. London 18.82 million
2. Bangkok 18.24 million
3. Paris 16.06 million
4. Dubai, UAE 14.26 million
5. Istanbul 12.56 million
6. New York 12.27 million
7. Singapore 11.88 million
8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 11.12 million
9. Seoul 10.35 million
10. Hong Kong 8.66 million

Top 10 cities for international overnight visitor spend for 2015
1 London $20.23 billion
2 New York $17.37 billion
3 Paris $16.61 billion
4 Seoul $15.24 billion
5 Singapore $14.65 billion
6 Barcelona, Spain $13.86 billion
7 Bangkok $12.36 billion
8 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia $12.02 billion
9 Dubai, UAE $11.68 billion
10 Istanbul $9.37 billion

Fastest growing tourist cities
1. Colombo, Sri Lanka 21.1%
2. Chengdu, China 20.7%
3. Abu Dhabi, UAE 20.4%
4. Osaka, Japan 19.8%
5. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 18.0%
6. Xi An, China 16.2%
7. Taipei, Taiwan 14.9%
8. Tokyo 14.6%
9. Lima, Peru 13.9%
10. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 12.9%

Article originally from CNN.

Single Visa for Thailand and Cambodia

Thai and Cambodian authorities have created the “Two Kingdoms, One Destination” tourism pact to increase foreign and Inter-ASEAN tourism.

The new single-visa option has been created for tourists looking to explore both countries in one trip. But what are the benefits? Firstly, if you visit Thailand first for example then fly to Cambodia all the customs guys will need to do is check your passport and hand back to you! So there will be no time wasted queuing up with 300 other tourists, no hidden costs and also your passport won’t fill up so quickly with extra visas and stamps! The Cambodian visa on entry takes up a whole page plus a stamp too.

Which country will benefit most from increased tourist numbers? Visitor arrivals to Cambodia from Thailand were up by 37% to 71,572 during the first quarter of 2015. Cambodia received 1.3 million foreign tourists overall during this same period, which is a 3.1% increase compared with the same period last year.

Thailand has been one of the biggest international tourist destinations in South East Asia for many years, last year saw 24.78 million visitors, which is actually a 6.66% reduction on the 2013 peak!

Cambodia received 4.5 million visitors last year, which is an increase of 7% compared to the year before. Cambodia’s GDP is currently $15 billion, tourism generated $3 billion last year.

It’s clear to see that Cambodia stands to benefit the most from this deal as it is an emerging tourist destination, a bit like Thailand was 20 to 30 years ago. Thailand will also benefit from the new single visa too, in particular from package holiday deals. Imagine you’re sat in your cold European home town, it’s dark and raining, then you see on line the trip of a lifetime taking in the sights of Bangkok followed by Thailand’s ancient capital city Ayutthaya then flying to Siem Reap and visiting the ancient Angkor Wat temple, all on one tourist visa!

Siti Nurhaliza is Malaysia tourism adviser

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Siti Nurhaliza Taruddin has been appointed Malaysia’s tourism adviser to boost visitors’ arrivals through her performances abroad.

The popular songstress is among nine personalities appointed to the post.

“All this while, I have used every opportunity possible as an artiste to promote my country when performing abroad,” she said.

“So this time, under the Tourism and Culture Ministry, my task will be easier,” Siti Nurhaliza said. “And, I can widely promote the beauty and special things about Malaysia,” she said after receiving the certificate of appointment on Thursday night.

The certificates were presented by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Siti Nurhaliza also intends to promote the breathtaking scenes and sights of Malaysia via social media accounts.

Another celebrity, world-renowned shoe designer Prof Datuk Dr Jimmy Choo, said as he always travelled to different parts of the world, he would use the opportunity to talk about and promote Malaysia.

“Because I am Jimmy Choo, they will interview me. And, I won’t only talk about shoes but also about my country, its tourist attractions and its culture,” he said.

The others are businessman Tan Sri Syed Mohd Yusof Syed Nasir, Datuk Jeffery San­dragesan, famous 80’s singer Datuk Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad (Datuk Shake), celebrity chef Datuk Ismail Ahmad, diving ambassador and conservationist Clement Lee, Korean successful businessman and tourism industry expert Datuk Lee Jin Bok and singer-songwriter Yunalis Mat Zara’ai (Yuna).

Nazri said the Tourism Adviser Programme, started in 2009, was an initiative to engage prominent, well-established and influential Malaysians in various fields, either living abroad or in Malaysia, to promote the country among their circle of friends, fans and contacts.

“You can spend millions in advertising and promotions but negative word-of-mouth will eventually bring you down,” he said. — Bernama

Singapore: Internet-savvy travelers drive travel agencies out of business

SINGAPORE — As more and more travelers go online to book flights, hotel rooms and tours, a rising number of home-grown travel agencies have been forced out of business.

A total of 86 travel agencies shut shop in the first five months of this year, surpassing the 80 new ones that obtained operating licences, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) data showed, signalling a shake-out in the industry segment.

At the current pace of closures, the number of firms going out of business this year is also set to exceed the 114 that ceased operations last year.

This will extend the trend since 2011 when closures have risen year after year. Meanwhile, 159 new travel agency licences were issued last year, down from 163 in 2013, STB data showed.

Dr Michael Chiam, senior tourism lecturer at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said wafer-thin margins and cut-throat competition continued to push smaller players into the corner, while Internet-savvy travellers are assembling their own itineraries and cutting out agents.

Ms Kay Swee Pin, president of Singapore Outbound Travel Agents Association (SOTAA), said: “In fact, there are far too many travel agents in a small market such as Singapore.” As of December, there were 1,201 licensed travel agents here, up from 973 in 2010 and 735 in 2005.

Main Street Travels went defunct last month after the company ran out of cash.

Mr Sameer Gupta, owner of the agency, said: “Corporate bookings need capital and credit. We have had many corporates not paying up. To fight them meant spending more money. High local salaries, paid-up capital requirements, rentals, audit costs and a host of other pre-requisites made survival tough. Many general retail travel agents are out of business and many others will soon be.”

Bigger travel agencies have also gone out of business. Asia-Euro Holidays pulled down its shutters abruptly last month after 13 years in business, leaving hundreds of customers in the lurch. Five Stars Tours, another well-known travel agency, went bankrupt in January last year.

Some travel agencies are calling for more regulation to curtail such closures that are casting the industry in a poor light. Smaller operators often undercut the competition with low rates, but eventually collapse when their business model becomes unsustainable.

“STB as a regulator should tighten current rules in terms of paid-up capital requirements and conduct annual audits on travel firms to ensure public money is not at risk. After all, in the event of a closure, the Government and banks are paid off first and consumers mostly get nothing,” said Ms Alicia Seah, director of marketing and communications at Dynasty Travel.

“There have to be stricter rules around the use of funds collected from clients,” Ms Kay of SOTAA said.

As consumer behavior changes, Ms Seah said continuous innovation is needed to survive in the intensely competitive market.

“We are aggressively embracing technology, innovating product offerings and payment solutions besides increasingly banking on loyalty programs. It is not easy for smaller players to compete,” she said.

Tour operators have to restructure and remodel their businesses, said Mr Ram Samtani, secretary-general of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS).

“People today are looking for experiences and not only simple holidays,” he added.

A company official at Grassland Express and Tours’ outlet at Golden Mile Complex said: “Our target audience for traditional travel has changed. We are now focused on customizing tours for the elderly and for family groups. We are looking for ways to get the younger lot back.”

New global tourism campaign for Singapore to bring more visitors

With visitor numbers in the decline Singapore has cause to worry and has set updated tourism campaigns to present a better tourism picture for lucrative tourists. The global marketing campaign will be launched in June, which will mark Singapore’s Golden Jubilee.

Visitation to Singapore has fallen by 7.4 percent since last year according to the readings taken in March which registered 1.2 million visitors coming to the city.

To draw more tourists from its largest source markets China and India and also with intentions of wooing more global tourists, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is investing about S$20 million in the campaign to provide tourists with the best of Singapore experience. The city has been observing a consistent fall with visitors decreasing by 6.1 per cent to 3.64 million in the first quarter of the year.

There has been some positive growth from new markets like South Korea and UK.  China and India continue to be top markets for Singapore. The city has suffered losses in the number of visitors but has seen a gain in the length of stay from visitors in the first quarter of the year.

STB will team up with airlines, hotel, retail and F&B partners for promotions and special deals to attract tourists and making staying in Singapore convenient and attractive for tourist.

Experts however feel that Singapore should change its focus from just promoting the city to promoting the entire ASEAN. That would help Singapore gain more visitors.

This year 2015 is expected to be a challenging year for the Singapore tourism feels the STB. Visitor arrival and receipts will increase only by 0 and 3 percent and 0 to 2 per cent respectively.

Thai tourism on upswing

BANGKOK :Kasikorn Research Centre estimates international tourist arrivals will reach 6.20 million during April to June this year an increase of 21.6% over the same period last year.

The bank’s think-tank unit said tourism was one of the few engines functioning well enough to drive the Thai economy during the first quarter of this year.

Inbound tourism has been on an upswing since the last quarter of 2014 and this trend has continued into Q1 this year. Foreign tourist arrivals have surged 23.5% to reach 7.88 million, in contrast to a 9.0% drop during the first quarter of last year.

“The low season for Thai tourism starts in the second quarter and lasts until the third; then more visitors arrive during the fourth quarter when the high season begins,” the bank stated.

inside no 3Songkhran was a massive driver that caused a big increase in tourism to the country and the positive benefits continue the bank noted.

To keep the momentum going, other activities are being staged, including the annual ‘Thailand Great Grand Sale’ that offers substantial shopping discounts at shopping malls across the country.

The Q2 tourism outlook is looking bright, thanks to short-haul tourists from Asian states, particularly China, India and ASEAN, who visit Thailand regardless of the season.

Considering the positive tourism climate and other favourable factors, the centre projects tourist arrivals will reach 6.20 million during Q2, growing 21.6%, as opposed to the 15.9% year-on-year contraction during the same quarter last year.

Kasikorn Research Centre is a subsidiary company of Kasikorn Bank, which conducts tourism and business research mainly on Thailand’s economy including tourism with reliable recommendations and indicators on business prospects.

SOURCE :TTR weekly