BEIJING - The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has launched a new micro-movie to woo Chinese tourists who have shunned the region since Flight MH370 vanished.
Made in collaboration with Chinese video site Youku and starring Taiwanese actor Jimmy Lin and Chinese actress Tian Yuan, the 20-minute movie titled Rediscovering Love premiered yesterday.
Lin plays a broken-hearted photographer who retraces the itinerary of his ex-lover in Singapore, visiting places such as The Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay and The Intan, a Peranakan museum in Joo Chiat. The film also showcases local cuisine such as chilli crab in a bid to market Singapore as a stand-alone destination.
Travel itineraries based on the film will be offered by STB's tour agency partners in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. The marketing drive aims to reverse a slump in Chinese tourist figures. Arrivals in Singapore in April were 45 per cent lower than in the same period last year.
The disappearance of MH370 on March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur is seen as a key factor. Of the 239 onboard, 153 were Chinese nationals.
The recent political turmoil in Thailand and a tourism law implemented by China in October last year to curb unfair competition have also dampened the market, said Mr Edward Chew, STB's Greater China regional director.
The Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand route is normally popular with Chinese tourists. There are signs of recovery in travel bookings for this month and next, Mr Chew noted.
"We are also heartened to see an increasing number of Chinese tourists coming to Singapore as a mono-destination," he added. "These travellers tend to stay longer than those on multi-destination package tours."
China has become an increasingly important market for Singapore. Last year, 2.27 million mainland visitors shelled out nearly $3 billion in total, which made them the biggest spenders.
The new micro-movie is the second to be produced under STB's three-year-old China marketing campaign, New Discoveries In Your Singapore. The first, starring Taiwanese actress Ariel Lin, was launched last year.
STB is using micro-movies as a marketing tool because they offer an effective and extensive reach in China's cluttered media environment.
STB figures show the first micro-movie has gained more than 3.5 million views on multiple online platforms in China and garnered over 20 million yuan (S$4 million) worth of media coverage.
This article was first published on July 11, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.