STB's latest charm offensive Passion Made Possible: Revisit 5 past tourism campaigns

Singapore's early major tourism campaigns with the taglines Surprising Singapore (left) and New Asia - Singapore. PHOTOS: STB

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) newest brand campaign - Passion Made Possible - announced on Thursday (Aug 24) aims to move beyond a tourist-centric strategy.

A partnership with the Economic Development Board, the campaign takes a storytelling approach by using local personalities to share tales about their different passions.

The idea is for a "unified" brand that will help market Singapore, be it to tourists or businesses.

Here's a look at past STB campaigns.

1. Instant Asia

The STB's predecessor, the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (STPB), put much effort and resources into promoting Singapore overseas following its formation in January 1964.

Besides targeting the United States, Australia and Japan as well as rolling out a monthly travel newsletter, STPB also adopted the Merlion as its emblem.

The Merlion as seen in 2002, when it was relocated to a promontory in front of The Fullerton Hotel. PHOTO: ST FILE

Its first tagline, Instant Asia, was used to convey the idea of Singapore as a holiday destination that combined the sights, tastes and cultures of Asia's main ethnic groups.

2. Surprising Singapore

What followed was a rebranding of Singapore as a "modern city of diverse exotic experiences".

A poster of stiltwalkers featuring the Surprising Singapore tagline. PHOTO: STB

Surprising Singapore was launched in 1984 and ran for 11 years, with the slogan arising from an observation that many tourists were surprised to find Singapore different from what they had expected.

An article in The Straits Times in 1979, several years before the launch of the campaign, noted: "Visitors often express surprise over the city's clean and green image, its safe streets and the quality of the hotels and their services."

3. New Asia - Singapore

A poster showcasing the face of New Asia - Singapore. PHOTO: STB

To signal the start of a new era when Singapore harboured ambitions of becoming a tourism capital by the 21st century (Tourism 21), Surprising Singapore became New Asia - Singapore in 1995.

This was meant to depict the country as a place where tradition mingles with modernity in a East meets West setting.

The following year, an initial budget of S$600 million was approved by the Government to realise three of the six key recommendations put forth in the Tourism 21 plan - developing Chinatown, setting up a new tourism development assistance scheme and creating a mega exhibition centre.

The STPB was renamed STB in November 1997, reflecting its new role as overall coordinator and champion for tourism in Singapore.

4. Uniquely Singapore

Following the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) in 2003 which affected tourism, the STB decided that a change in strategy was in order in 2004 to maintain Singapore's share of the tourism pie.

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Thus, Uniquely Singapore, which aimed to offer products and services that showcase the distinctness of Singapore, was born.

The campaign was promoted aggressively overseas, with celebrity ambassadors, including singer- songwriter JJ Lin, appointed to spread the word. Key attractions highlighted include Orchard Road, the Singapore Zoo and the various heritage districts.

Events such as the Singapore Food Festival and Great Singapore Sale also took centre stage.

5. YourSingapore

The YourSingapore logo. PHOTO: STB

Launched in March 2010, YourSingapore aimed to tap into the country's highly concentrated mix of dining, shopping and cultural attractions.

An interactive website was launched to facilitate the customisation of tours and booking of flights and accommodation.

This period also saw STB tailor its campaigns for different markets such as China, India, Australia and the Philippines.

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