A Japanese client told me after a visit to Vietnam that he was so happy to have bought two pairs of tailor-made shoes there. He said he had saved around $250.
Another friend considered coming to Singapore for a holiday with his family, but opted for Thailand instead, saying it was cheaper, more relaxing and that the Thais were friendlier.
It is clear that everyone is looking for bargain deals, great food, low-priced drinks and a fun time. Just imagine the revenue that could be generated if we could tap travellers like these.
Singapore has to be more affordable. Why would a person come here if holidaying, shopping and partying here are so expensive?
The old-world charm of Singapore is also what attracted tourists here. But with massive modernisation and changes at a breakneck speed, that part of Singapore is fast disappearing.
The same holds true for Orchard Road. It carries all the famous brands but lacks a soul and personality.
The solution is to close the road completely to traffic, plant more trees to provide shade, and have affordable hawker stalls or alfresco dining and live music round the clock.
An environmentally friendly tram system to ferry shoppers and visitors from one end of the street to the other would create buzz and add a certain character to the road.
We should offer something unique to consumers to make them spend more time there.
The global traveller is smart, savvy and very discerning. We need to listen to these travellers, and not go about our old ways of doing business in a city that is pricing itself out in every way.