Wednesday August 15, 2018

Singapore’s tourism extravaganza

MUCH can be learned by the Philippines from Singapore tourism initiatives. It is true, creative, lucrative, and attractive.

The two countries may seem close geographically but never in terms of progress.

Tourism, as reflective in Singapore, can really be a major economic driver. The Lion City, for instance, recorded an all-time high S$26.8 billion overall tourism receipts from 17.4 million visitor arrivals in 2017.

Singapore’s tourism data are sure miles away from Philippines’ 6.6 million foreign tourists last year, a clear manifestation of how undeveloped and unprepared, in general, the Philippine tourism is. But I’d like to believe the tourism industry here is doing something to up our game.

So, how vibrant is tourism in Singapore? Whether you are a foodie, an explorer or a collector, your passions can be lived up and made possible there as presented in its latest destination brand, “Passion Made Possible.”

I had a chance to personally experience Singapore’s tourism extravaganza in a five-day familiarity tour with fellow journalists last July 26 to 30, 2018. It was my first time to visit this Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) model state and I was impressed. Who would never be?

From diverse cuisine, spectacular architecture to shopping destinations, innovations, law and order, and first-world services and facilities, the list goes on. Walking around the island state, the tourism boom is really obvious and reflective as tourists from various time zones and races are everywhere. Literally.

For many Filipinos, Singapore has always been in the list of favorite get-away destinations. We had better beaches and richer biodiversity but it has something tourists are eager to enjoy - its world-class attractions, delicious cuisine, colorful cultural enclaves, and vibrant shopping destinations.

The Philippine market is continuously developing in Singapore. An annual tourism performance review conducted by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) showed a record of over 736,000 visitor arrivals from the Philippines in 2017, which marked a six percent increase from the previous year.

The Davao market, in particular, is considered definite major drivers of its Philippine market due to the direct flights to Singapore served by SilkAir and Cebu Pacific.

For 2018, STB expects tourism performance to continue an upward trend.

Tourism receipts are estimated to increase one to three percent, ranging from S$27.1 to S$27.6 billion, while international visitor arrivals are expected to grow by one to four percent, ranging from 17.6 to 18.1 million.

The fam-tour that we had gave us a glimpse of the country’s diverse cuisine, its world-class attractions, shopping destinations and wide range of experiences that can nurture different passions. It is where visitors can ignite, discover and pursue their passions.

Leaving Singapore after five days only left me questioning – Why can’t Philippines?