Singapore artists help STB woo Indian millennial tourists

At the Lodhi Art District in central Delhi, one lane has been converted into Singapore Lane featuring street art by Singaporean artists, as part of a festival by the Singapore Tourism Board and the St+art India Foundation.
At the Lodhi Art District in central Delhi, one lane has been converted into Singapore Lane featuring street art by Singaporean artists, as part of a festival by the Singapore Tourism Board and the St+art India Foundation.ST PHOTO: NIRMALA GANAPATHY

NEW DELHI - Singapore wants to attract Indian millennial tourists to Singapore.

And it is hoping a three-day festival will showcase to young Indians all that Singapore has to offer from art, entertainment to a bustling night life.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has partnered the St+art India Foundation, a non- profit group, for the three-day experiential festival called Singapore Weekender that started in Delhi on Saturday (Feb 16).

The festival includes works by around a dozen Singaporean artists such as Sam Lo and Daniel Yu, a pop-up cocktail bar by Jigger and Pony and a performance by Singaporean rapper Yung Raja.

At the Lodhi Art District, which is in central Delhi, one lane has been converted into Singapore Lane featuring street art by Singaporean artists like Eugene Soh and Yip Yew Chong.

"We are trying to say art, entertainment and nightlife is something Singapore offers and they would be surprised to find that Singapore offers so many different types of experiences. It is one way of connecting to young adults," said Mr G.B. Srithar, STB's regional director (South Asia, Middle East and Africa).

While Singapore is viewed here as a top-of-mind family destination, Mr Srithar also noted that more than half of India's population is under the age of 35.

"In recognition that 67 per cent of the Indian population is under the age of 35, over the last few years we have started to look at this market of young adults who are travelling. Their passion point and interests are very different," he added.

Mr Chang Chee Pey, STB's assistant chief executive ( international group), said: "India, given the size of its population and proximity to Singapore, will continue to be an important market for the Singapore Tourism Board. This is one example of how we are engaging with the new generation of Indian travellers."

More Indians are travelling abroad for their holidays, helped by increasing disposable incomes and a desire to visit new places.

About 50 million Indians will travel overseas in 2019, according to a United Nations World Tourism Organisation estimate, up from 23 million in 2017.

India's outbound numbers have seen an average annual growth rate of 10 to 12 per cent over the past seven years.

And Singapore remains a popular destination for Indian tourists.

According to STB, 1.45 million visitors from India visited Singapore in 2018, a 13 per cent increase over the previous year and making India the third largest source of tourists after China and Indonesia. Singapore saw 3.4 million visitors from China and three million from Indonesia last year.

Through initiatives such as Singapore Weekender, STB hopes to further attract younger Indians to the Republic.

One of those at the festival was Mr Deepak Limbu, 27, a business management student.

Mr Limbu, who has never travelled abroad, said that Singapore is on his list of holiday destinations.

"Singapore is on my to-do list. But before that I want to go to Croatia and New Zealand because they are off the beaten path," he added.

The Weekender festival also includes Atypical Singapore, an art and augmented reality (AR) technology showcase.

Among the Singaporean artists is Sheryo, one half of the Yok and Sheryo duo who created an installation called "The Temple of Self Indulgence".

She noted that while her work depicted a global theme of the growing dependence on social media, it had Singaporean influences, which she wanted to showcase to an Indian audience.

"It is also about growing up in a multicultural society," she said.