Singapore Gets a Boost

Tourism board launches new, comprehensive program to boost its tourism sector 

By: By Deanna Ting

Given today’s struggling economy, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is launching a brand-new, $60 million initiative to help its tourism sector manage through the current economic situation. The new program, called Boost (short for “Building on Opportunities to Strengthen Tourism”) contains measures to increase demand for travel to Singapore, boost funding, enhance the STB’s capabilities, improve outreach to Singapore residents and work with travel partners.

The new Boost program follows the recent appointment of the STB’s new chief executive, Kah Peng Aw, and the Singapore government’s recently unveiled $13.5 billion Resilience Package, which aims to save jobs and help viable companies remain in business.

In relation to the U.S. market, the new Boost program is targeting leisure, business and MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) visitors this year. The STB’s new global marketing campaign, 2009 Reasons to Enjoy Singapore, is giving travelers an opportunity to take advantage of value-added packages and promotions.

One deal in particular, the $999 - Singapore Super Value Deal, includes roundtrip Economy class airfare on Singapore Airways from San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York or Houston; roundtrip airport transfers; three nights’ hotel accommodations; full American breakfast daily; and a half-day city tour for only $999 per person, with fuel surcharges included. For an additional $299 or more per person, clients may also extend their trip to other countries in the region as well.

The STB is also going viral, using social networking sites such as Facebook to launch its newest promotions. In one such promotion, Fly on US, the STB is giving away up to $327,000 worth of free airfares to Singapore, as well as $6,000 in cash to be won monthly. The Fly on US campaign was launched last month and will continue through the end of May 2009.

And the STB is also making a concerted effort to increase funding support for MICE attendees. MICE companies and meetings planners who work with the STB will now enjoy greater cost savings and the STB has developed a new MICE attendance building campaign for 2009.

The STB remains optimistic that its new Boost program will help maintain visitor numbers to Singapore and keep its travel partners afloat during the current economic situation.

“Singapore’s advantage is that we are entering this difficult period from a position of strength,” STB chief executive Kah Peng Aw said. “Our past efforts have entrenched Singapore as a premier business city and one of Asia’s lifestyle and entertainment capitals, and our healthcare and education services sector is highly reputable. Building on this strong foundation, the Singapore Tourism Board is committed to working with tourism businesses to weather the economic downturn and ensure that the sector emerges from it stronger.”

The country is currently undergoing rapid development of its tourism infrastructure and new offerings, including the construction of the new Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World at Sentosa complexes, both of which remain on schedule for completion in late 2009/early2010.

Later this month, the Norman Foster-designed Capella Singapore will open and, to celebrate, the resort is offering a special introductory rate of $360 per night for a two-night stay, with a complimentary third night. The special rate is valid through May 31.

The tourism board is also making a concerted effort to work with its travel agent partners to help boost tourism to Singapore. Agents who enroll in its Singapore Specialist program will have a chance to win a trip for two to Singapore for making the most bookings. They also receive special discounted fam trip rates and three continuing education credits with the Travel Institute.

Capella Singapore

Marina Bay Sands

Resorts World at Sentosa

Singapore Super Value Deal

Singapore Tourism Board