Star Wars fest to kick off Disney partnership with STB

Mr Alex Baillie (left), head of marketing and partnerships at The Walt Disney Company South-east Asia, and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) chief executive Lionel Yeo, at STB's annual tourism conference.
Mr Alex Baillie (left), head of marketing and partnerships at The Walt Disney Company South-east Asia, and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) chief executive Lionel Yeo, at STB's annual tourism conference.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

A Star Wars festival to be held at Gardens by the Bay next month will kick off a three-year partnership between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and The Walt Disney Company South- east Asia to bring themed events and activities here.

Disney's first partnership with a national tourism body in the region aims to enhance Singapore's events calendar and showcase its attractions and precincts, it was announced yesterday at STB's annual tourism conference.

The three-day Star Wars festival, set to be held from May 4 to 6, will include the lighting up of the Supertrees at the Gardens to look like lightsabers, a light and music show, the inaugural Star Wars Run, and a Star Wars- themed Silent Disco dance party.

More activities revolving around the movie franchise will be held in the second half of this year, followed by Marvel and Disney Animation/Disney Pixar themes next year and in 2019, respectively.

Reacting to the news, longtime Star Wars fan Bertrand Lim, 29, said he plans to attend as many related events as he can. "I am really excited - now I have an excuse to break out my Stormtrooper costume," said the data analyst.

Other plans shared at the conference yesterday include an additional $10 million for the next tranche of STB's Kickstart Fund, which supports innovative lifestyle concepts and events with strong tourism potential and scalability.

More funds will be allocated to recipients, which have included the Singapore Cocktail Festival and music and arts festival Neon Lights. Support will increase from 50 per cent to 70 per cent of qualifying costs, with a higher grant ceiling of $200,000.

STB will also open a new regional office in the Indonesian tier 2 city of Surabaya, which was the second largest source of visitor arrivals in Singapore after Jakarta last year.

It is also investing in two digital platforms to harness technology and data to support future growth. One is an information and services hub to be launched by the year end, while the other is the Singapore Tourism Analytics Network, which will use visitor data to gain insight into tourist movements, among other data.

In a speech, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran noted that Singapore's record highs in visitor arrivals and tourism spending last year marked one of the bright spots in the economy.

This year is off to a promising start, with visitor arrivals reaching 2.8 million as of February, a 3.4 per cent increase over the same period last year, he noted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2017, with the headline 'Star Wars fest to kick off Disney partnership with STB'. Print Edition | Subscribe