$35 million tie-up to attract more visitors to Singapore

$35 million tie-up to attract more visitors to Singapore
A bird's eye view of Changi Airport in April 2014.

Changi Airport, tourism board pooling resources amid challenging market CHANGI Airport and Singapore's tourism authority will spend $35 million over the next two years to boost visitor numbers.

Amid a challenging market environment, the partnership aims to achieve average annual growth of 3 per cent to 4 per cent in visitor arrivals over the next decade, Changi Airport Group (CAG) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said in a joint statement yesterday.

Last year, Singapore attracted 15.1 million international visitors, a 3.1 per cent dip from 2013's record 15.6 million. It was the first time since 2009 that the numbers fell.

The collaboration is the largest tie-up to date between CAG and STB, the parties said.

There have been prior and ongoing initiatives, but this is the first time the investment amount has been revealed.

The current tie-up will include joint global marketing campaigns, including in key markets such as Australia, Indonesia, China and India.

Travel agents, carriers including Singapore Airlines, and cruise liners, among other partners, will be roped in. They will help curate packages and itineraries for travellers to experience the sights and sounds of Singapore.

Besides promoting Singapore, the marketing campaign will also focus on selling Changi Airport as a destination in itself.

For example, more local flavour will be injected into the airport experience, with plans to showcase local brands, visual installations of local cultures and other Singapore-inspired displays across all terminals.

The airport's chief executive, Mr Lee Seow Hiang, said: "Singapore and Changi Airport have to rise to the challenge of a highly competitive tourism landscape. This partnership will enable CAG and STB to pool our resources and enhance our joint marketing programmes to better capture greater mindshare among tourists to this region."

Last year, Changi Airport handled a record 54.1 million passengers but growth was minimal.

Total traffic grew by just

0.7 per cent year-on-year, the lowest since 2009 when business was hit by the global financial crisis.

To entice more people to fly to and through Singapore, the airport has launched various initiatives, including offering shopping and dining vouchers to selected transit travellers.

Work has also started on Jewel, a new retail-cum-airport development that will open in 2018. Located where the Terminal 1 open-air carpark used to be, the building, designed by architect Moshe Safdie - the man behind Marina Bay Sands - will feature a 40m-high indoor waterfall and a five-storey-high indoor garden, among other highlights.

STB chief executive Lionel Yeo said: "This collaboration is a tremendous opportunity for us to shape global perceptions by showcasing memorable facets of Singapore, and help generate a desire for the Singapore experience."

Dr Michael Chiam, a senior lecturer of tourism at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said: "This is the biggest joint investment by Changi Airport and STB so far, and it shows that the competition for visitor numbers is getting more intense. The money will go a long way towards helping all stakeholders come up with programmes and ideas to draw more people here."

karam@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on April 2, 2015.
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