It is hardly surprising that about one in five travellers at Changi Airport today is from either China or India, or that this proportion is set to increase significantly. The two countries are the vanguard economies of today, and the spending habits and interests of their citizens are remaking the world. International travel for the emerging Chinese and Indian middle class, as once for its European and American counterpart, is one of the ways in which global tourism will benefit from the rise of a new consumer class.
Singapore is well-positioned to benefit from the trend. Colonial Singapore was a must-stop for well-heeled travellers in search of the exotic East. Independent Singapore retained its attraction for Western tourists by offering them an authentic glimpse of Asia without the crime and violence. Even today, an experience of the best of the East, minus its worst aspects, counts as among Singapore's attractions for discerning tourists.