Case Study-Singapore Taps Growth Market In Australia
Singapore, a small country with a population of 5.4 million, in 2013 welcomed about 15.5 million tourists spending over $23 billion. the top 5 tourist arrivals were from Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Australia and India. While there were about three million visitors from Indonesia and two million from China, over one million Australians travelled to Singapore in 2013 and spent about $800 million.
This places Australia as the largest Western market for Singapore tourism, growing at nearly 10 per cent yearly. United States and United Kingdom are the other large Western markets for Singapore tourism, with about half a million visitors from each country. The other large Western markets for Singapore are Germany (253 000 visitors), France (160 000 visitors) and New Zealand (124 000 visitors).
As a comparison, there were 6.5 million visitor arrivals in Australia from: New Zealand (1.2 million visitors), China (709 000 visitors), United Kingdom (656 000 visitors), United States (501 000 visitors) and Singapore (340 000 visitors). Singaporean visitors in Australia currently spend about $1.2 billion but this figure is projected to increase to $2.3–2.8 billion by 2020.
Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia are also targeting Australian tourists. Hong Kong had 54.3 million tourist arrivals in 2013, with 40.7 million arrivals from Mainland China. The other top tourist markets for Hong Kong are Taiwan (2.1 million), United States (1.1 million), South Korea (1.0 million), Japan (1.0 million), Philippines (705 000), Singapore (700 000), Malaysia (649 000), Australia (610 000) and Thailand (535 000).
Thailand had 26.7 million visitor arrivals in 2013, with the Top 10 being from China (4.7 million), Malaysia (3.0 million), Russia (1.7 million), Japan (1.5 million), South Korea (1.3 million), Laos (1.1 million), India (1.0 million), Singapore (936 000), Australia (908 000) and the United Kingdom (906 000).
Malaysia had 26 million tourist arrivals in 2013 spending $21.6 billion. Tourist arrivals were from Singapore (13 million), Indonesia (2.5 million), China (1.8 million), Brunei (1.2 million), Thailand (1.1 million), India (651 000), Philippines (557 000), Australia (526 000), Japan (513 000) and the United Kingdom (413 000).
While Tourism Australia is attracting more Singaporeans and other nationalities to visit Australia, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has been marketing aggressively in Australia to attract more visitors to the tiny island, to stay longer and therefore to increase their expenditure. As Singapore is currently the market leader in receiving tourist arrivals from Australia, it has to retain repeat customers and capture new customers from Australia
In 2012, STB launched a tongue-in-cheek ‘Get Lost’ campaign to change Aussie perceptions, such as the country being boring, predictable, strict, a concrete 2 jungle, simply for shopping and chilli crabs and having no charm or tradition. The campaign encouraged Aussies to get lost in the island and ‘find the real Singapore’.
In March 2014, STB launched the Singapore Celebrity Concierge to enable Aussie visitors to consult Australia’s favourite personalities who have an intimate knowledge of Singapore. The Australian celebrities include Antonia Kidman, an author who has lived in Singapore since 2010, and Tom Williams, a TV presenter on travel destinations. Aussie travellers could register for a Skype consultation with the celebrities in April 2014. The other members of the Celebrity Concierge are chef Tetsuya Wakuda and Masterchef 2012 finalist Audra Morrice
Antonia Kidman spoke about her actress sister Nicole Kidman visiting Singapore without being recognised and reminisced about her dad flying in from Sydney for regular long weekend trips. She also commented on favourite places for her family, such as Adventure Cove Waterpark in Sentosa Resort World, the Children’s Garden at the Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Zoo, the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Forest Adventure, AMPED Trampoline Park, Chinatown, Little India, Arab Street, Boomarang Café in Boat Quay, the ArtScience Museum, the Changi Museum, the National Library Drama Centre and Universal Studios.
On 15 April 2014, Channel 7 in Australia ran a special program ‘Tom and Ben’s Singapore Sling’. TV presenter Tom Williams and chef Ben O’Donoghue stopped over in Singapore from a Maldives surfing trip and took the adventurous approach to discover the real Singapore. They tried chicken rice, fish head soup, beer that goes with special food, durian, satay, coconut drink, the local barber and tailor, a boat ride and mountain biking in Pulau Ubin, as well as the night life in the city. The Tom and Ben program attracted about 800 000 viewers and generated more interest from Australians wanting to visit Singapore.
Over the years, Singapore has been investing innovatively to make the country more attractive as a tourism destination. STB collaborated with Singapore entrepreneur Ong Beng Seng and Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone to run the first night-time F1 race in Singapore in 2008. The F1 agreement has been extended to 2017
Singapore also opened the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa integrated resorts in 2010 to attract gamblers and holiday makers. Marina Bay Sands is known for its boat-shaped architecture with a swimming pool right at the top overlooking the surroundings and also offers visitors the ArtScience museum as well as seasonal entertainment at the Grand Theatre, Sands Theatre and MasterCard Theatres. Close to the Marina Bay Sands is the Marina Bay Cruise Centre to accommodate the largest cruise liners and the Gardens by the Bay horticultural oasis with its 18 iconic vertical gardens that display light and sound at night.
Resorts World Sentosa offers attractions such as Universal Studios, Marine Life Park, the world’s largest SEA Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Dolphin Island and Maritime Experiential Museum. STB also added the Giant Panda Forest in 2010 through a special collaboration between China Wildlife Conservation Association and Wildlife Reserves Singapore. Two giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia are housed in the Giant Panda Forest, close to the River Safari wildlife park. STB set up an Association Development Fund of $15 million in April 2014 to help tourism hotspots in Singapore to improve attractions and manpower training For 3 example, the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association plans to create special tours for tourists to spend more time and money in the location.
Acknowledging the growing market opportunities in global tourism, Singapore’s Changi Airport is preparing to open its fourth terminal in 2017 to increase the airport’s capacity from 66 million passenger movements to 82 million, servicing regional low-cost and fullservice carriers. Singapore’s forward planning outlook and innovative developments have won the airport many accolades over the years. In 2014, the airport was named the World’s Best Airport for the fifth time at the Skytrax World Airport Awards. The award was based on 39 performance indicators, such as check-in, arrivals, departure, security, immigration and shopping. Skytrax polled about 13 million travellers from 110 nationalities about their views of 410 airports.
Recognising the growing tourism market in Oceania, the government-owned Singapore Airlines has also made travelling to Singapore easier and more affordable. Singapore Airlines started Tigerair budget airline in 2004 and today has Tigerair Singapore, Tigerair Australia and Tigerair Mandala to cover 14 countries in the Asia Pacific. Singapore Airlines also started its no-frills low-fare airline Scoot with its first Australian destination being Sydney in 2012, followed by the Gold Coast and Perth. Singapore Airlines also has codeshare partnerships, where its SQ flight numbers are placed on partner airlines such as Virgin Australia Airlines and Air New Zealand.
Indeed, Singapore has gone out of its way to attract visitors to the small multicultural country. Its Singapore Airlines carrier, represented by the iconic Singapore Girl, has been associated with a standard of airline service that even other airlines talk about. Singapore Airlines is ‘the world’s most awarded airline’, with awards such as the ‘Best Airline in the World’ for 10 consecutive years from Global Traveler USA and Roy Morgan Research Australia’s International Airline of the Year 2013. The latest Singapore Airlines advertising aptly talks about ‘The lengths we go to’ to make every customer feel special and very much at home.
1. How is the Australian market ranked among tourism arrivals in Singapore?
2. How have Australians perceived Singapore?
3. How is Singapore attracting Australian travellers?
4. Why is Singapore making the country more appealing to Australians?
5. What image has Singapore Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines projected for Singapore?