$34m charm offensive to attract visitors to Singapore

With fierce competition coming from Bangkok, Hong Kong and other regional cities, the next phase of promotions will widen the net to woo travellers from more countries to visit Singapore.
With fierce competition coming from Bangkok, Hong Kong and other regional cities, the next phase of promotions will widen the net to woo travellers from more countries to visit Singapore.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Changi Airport Group, SIA and STB renew partnership to promote city and airport

With competition for the tourist dollar fiercer than ever, the Changi Airport Group (CAG), Singapore Airlines (SIA) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) have renewed their agreement to join forces and woo travellers, in their biggest commitment to date.

On the table is $33.75 million, pledged over the next three years, to continue the promotion of Singapore as a destination and Changi as a stopover for long-haul travellers.

The commitment, announced yesterday, comes less than two years after the three partners agreed to set aside $20 million to support joint marketing and other efforts.

With fierce competition coming from Bangkok, Hong Kong and other regional cities, the next phase of promotions will widen the net to woo travellers from more countries, whereas the previous agreement had focused mainly on long-haul travellers from markets like the United States and Europe.

Apart from promoting Singapore as a stopover, marketing programmes will also sell Singapore as a twinning destination.

There will also be efforts to woo business and Mice (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) visitors to hold events here.

The partnership will refresh the Free Singapore Tour, which provides transfer passengers waiting for connecting flights with a taste of what the country has to offer.

The scheme will be expanded to include more authentic experiences based on travellers' stated interests, such as a foodie tour in which participants get to sample a popular local delight while taking in the city sights.

The Free Singapore Tour has been well-received, hosting 59,000 passengers last year, up 8 per cent from the previous year.

Changi's chief executive officer Lee Seow Hiang noted that the partnership has helped grow passenger segments, such as transfer traffic.

For SIA, the tie-up reflects the airline's commitment to further develop its home base at Changi Airport and promote Singapore as a tourist destination, chief executive Goh Choon Phong said.

STB's chief executive Lionel Yeo said: "The renewal of this partnership reflects our confidence that we can continue to cooperate fruitfully to better serve our visitors and drive tourism outcomes."

Giving the tie-up the thumbs up, Dynasty Travel's director of marketing communications Alicia Seah said that with Changi Airport's Terminal 4 opening later this year and Jewel - a new development with mainly retail offerings - coming up in 2019, Singapore needs to work harder to reel travellers in.

She said: "Promoting Singapore as part of a bigger package that also includes other cities in the region makes sense, especially for long-haul travellers who don't come all the way to Asia just to visit one country.

"It's the same for us. You wouldn't visit Europe just to see one city and come back."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2017, with the headline '$34m charm offensive to attract visitors to Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe