Influx of Indian tourists boosts Singapore tourism

Representative image | Photo: Pradeep NM/AFP

SINGAPORE: An influx of Indian tourists to Singapore ahead of the F1 Grand Prix, which starts on September 30, will boost the country’s tourism industry.

About 40% of the audience at the Grand Prix is ​​foreign, many of them no doubt from India. Indians are currently the second largest source of tourists to Singapore. As of August, Singapore received a total of 2.96 million tourists.

Of these, 378,490 were from India. Indonesia was Singapore’s largest source of foreign tourists at 588,870 as of August. Malaysia came in third with 264,170, followed by Australia (258,670) and Vietnam (177,510).

About 725,000 foreigners entered Singapore each month in July and August, the highest level so far this year. At this rate, if global tourism continues to pick up, Singapore is expected to reach about 6 million tourists by the end of this year.

COVID-19 has shut down tourism in Singapore completely. Businesses that depend on tourism, including restaurants, hotels and retail stores, have been shut down (some for good), and workers in the industry have had to find other forms of work.

If you don’t count the first three months of 2020 — just before the global pandemic forced border closures — Singapore received just 90,000 foreign tourists in 2020. The situation in 2021 is slightly better, with 330,000 tourists. At its peak in 2019, Singapore was the fifth most visited city in the world with more than 19.1 million tourists, beating out more glamorous cities like New York and Paris.

During Singapore’s COVID-impacted travel winter, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is not sitting still. Instead, it went on the offensive to ensure Singapore remained a top choice for potential foreign tourists. STB’s regional offices have launched new initiatives to engage fans and strengthen Singapore’s brand image globally. It also works with technology, media and tourism players in key source markets to promote Singapore as an attractive destination for future travelers.

When the Formula 1 circus enters Singapore this week for the 13th Singapore F1 Grand Prix, it will mark a strong comeback for the country as host of the world-class event after the COVID-19 pandemic brought its tourism industry to a screeching halt.

With pent-up demand for the exciting live event, crowds from around the world will flood the city-state, numbers not seen since the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix in 2008, when 300,000 attended the event. Activity. The best three-day attendance since then was 268,000 in 2019. COVID-19 has shut down the world’s only street track night race in 2020 and 2021.

Since the start of the pandemic, STB has been working closely with industry partners to forge new paths for the travel industry. In February 2020, the Tourism Recovery Action Task Force (TRAC), comprising tourism leaders from the private and public sectors, was established to develop and implement a joint recovery strategy. TRAC has helped identify opportunities presented by COVID-19, driving and implementing measures to jointly develop recovery plans and build confidence in Singapore’s tourism industry.

During the tourism downturn, various training and upskilling activities were carried out to support industry workers when tourism resumed. These include job redesign programs to train existing staff in new skills, enabling them to be redeployed to areas other than their profession.

STB’s aggressive efforts to reposition Singapore as Asia’s top tourist and business destination have resulted in a rapid recovery for the sector as borders opened.

According to the tourism board, in the first three months of 2022, Singapore hosted more than 150 local and international events, attended by more than 37,000 people.

Hotels have been busy as COVID restrictions ease and tourism rebounds (judging by arrivals over the past few months). Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that hotel room prices in Singapore are set to hit their most expensive levels in nearly a decade due to a slew of high-profile events in the coming months.

Since September 2012, the average hotel room rate in July has risen nearly 70% year-on-year to S$259 (US$185) per night, according to the latest STB data. Still, staying in a five-star luxury hotel is still reasonably priced in Singapore compared to its regional counterparts.

The growth in visitor numbers is likely to continue with a slew of international business, entertainment and sporting events planned for the rest of the year. The Formula 1 Grand Prix is ​​just one of them.

Just before the Grand Prix, Singapore will host the Milken Institute Asia Summit and the Forbes Global CEO Conference. Also in the pipeline are the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference and several cryptocurrency events in September, followed by Gamescom Asia in October, Bloomberg New Economics Forum and One Health World Congress in November.

On the entertainment front, world-class entertainers coming to Singapore include Westlife and Green Day during the Grand Prix, and Justin Bieber, Maroon Five and Guns N’ Roses later in the year.

S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister in Charge of Trade Relations, is the key government official responsible for the Grand Prix, a firm believer that the Grand Prix is ​​an important focal point for tourists, global events and business meetings, and reinforces Singapore’s reputation for its vibrant lifestyle.

Singapore in January extended its hosting of the Grand Prix for another seven years until 2028. It is reported that the Singapore Tourism Board pays about US$35 million for the right to host each year, and the operating cost is about US$100 million. Organizers claim that Singapore has benefited from an increase in tourism revenue of about US$1.1 billion since its inception.

“Overall, our tourism industry benefits, especially the hospitality industry — so hotels, air travel, and restaurants as well as our retail industry,” Iswaran said at a community event in late August. “Overall, I think this has had a positive impact on the wider hospitality industry and other industries related to Formula 1.”


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