Share a slice of Singapore, invite guests from abroad

Photo contest part of tourism board's new campaign to bring out country's human side

Kit Chan and Lina Yap sat next to each other as eight-year-olds in primary school but lost touch after the latter moved to the United States.

If Chan, the Singapore singer best known for singing the National Day Song, Home, had her way, she would have a reunion with her childhood best friend at The Esplanade.

The theatre venue has a special place in her heart. She said she would definitely take her friend to "one of my favourite places in Singapore, which is The Esplanade, and we could watch a show together".

  • CONTEST DETAILS

  • To take part in the photo contest by STB:

    • Upload a photo that depicts your dream experience in Singapore.

    • Say who you wish to invite and why this dream experience is meaningful to you, in up to 150 words.

    • Submit your entry on Instagram and hashtag it with your country of residence and #SingaporeInvites. Entries can also be submitted via www.yoursingapore.com/ singaporeinvites. The contest ends on Dec 6.

Like Chan, there may be others who wish to connect or reconnect with a friend or relative based overseas for a shared experience in Singapore. Their wish might become the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB's) command.

In a new initiative called Singapore Invites, STB will run a photo contest for people to invite to Singapore someone from any part of the world they would like to get in touch with.

Contest participants have to upload a photo related to an experience they would like to share with their guest. The contest starts today and ends on Dec 6.

Veering away from its usual initiatives, the STB hopes to present Singapore in the eyes of the people who love the country and have experiences they consider special to them.

Explaining the move, STB's director of international marketing Jacqueline Ng noted that travel decisions are now made based on what people hear from their friends, and what they see through social media posts. "It's a people-centric campaign and it brings out the warmth and human side of this destination," she said.

There were over 1.4 million international visitor arrivals in August this year.

The premise of the initiative is the cosmopolitan nature of Singapore, which has allowed its people to meet citizens from all over the world.

Giving them a chance to share their personal anecdotes and relationship with the country will give a more "authentic" view of Singapore, Ms Ng told The Sunday Times last Friday. "If you put 20 people in a room and ask them where they would take their overseas friends to, they would all probably say different things," she said.

It is this diversity that STB hopes to stitch into a collage.

Participants are to share their photos on Instagram and hashtag it with their country of residence and #SingaporeInvites. Entries can also be submitted via www.yoursingapore.com/singaporeinvites.

The contest is open to all.

"We hope to ignite their sense of pride and their desire to share a piece of Singapore with their friends," said Ms Ng, who gave a personal example. She wants to share a bowl of laksa with an old friend who migrated to Indonesia about 20 years ago. The laksa shop is still around, and she would post the photo of the very bowl that made them skip class, she said.

Winners will be able to bring their guests to Singapore for a three-day stay, complete with accommodation and air travel. A total of 25 winners will be picked, and they may invite up to three people each.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2015, with the headline 'Share a slice of Singapore, invite guests from abroad'. Print Edition | Subscribe