Singapore developing plan to boost tourism


SINGAPORE – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is developing a new road map for 2020. It is also looking for ideas from the public.

Singapore’s tourism industry has taken a hit with the economic downturn. Latest figures showed tourist arrivals from January to August fell 9.2 per cent over the same period last year to 6.23 million.

There was one silver lining though – the rate of decline has slowed since June.

The STB had previously set as its 2015 target 17 million visitor arrivals and S$30 billion in tourism receipts. But it now said that would be a challenge.

Looking forward to 2020, the STB has put together a steering committee to chart strategic directions for the future of an industry that contributed 5.8 per cent to GDP last year.

Five taskforces have been set up to look into specific areas – Business, Enrichment, Lifestyle, Marketing plus Travel and Hospitality.

Industry leaders heading these taskforces know they face an uphill task.

Dennis Foo, co-chair of Lifestyle Taskforce and CEO of St James Power Station, said: “… very exciting years ahead, with the two IRs (integrated resorts). But the big challenge is really to have the right software – essentially, it’s the people. Hospitality is about people.”

Loh Lik Peng, co-chair of Business Taskforce and director of KMC Holdings, said: “A lot of it is looking ahead and seeing the growth opportunities in markets like China, India, Indonesia.

“If you look at the wealth creation in those countries, the size of the middle class and the people who will travel for work and will want to come for events in Singapore or hold a conference here will increase exponentially.

“We want to position ourselves so that we get a fair share of that market. We don’t want to be marginalised by their own capital cities.”

About 70 per cent of Singapore’s visitor arrivals are from Asia.

For its new road map, the STB wants to tap on ideas from the public through this website.

The public can submit their ideas over the next four months.

STB’s chief executive, Aw Kah Peng, said: “Everyone who has a good idea, who can contribute, we want to hear them. If we can take even a small number of these ideas and turn them into something that works for us, that will be tremendously powerful.”

The new road map and targets are expected to be ready by March next year.