A high influx of Indian tourists to Singapore will provide a powerful boost to the country’s tourism ahead of the F1 Grand Prix which begins on September 30. About 40 percent of the spectators at the Grand Prix are foreigners, with many undoubtedly coming from India. Indians are currently the second largest group of visitors to Singapore by country of origin. As of August, Singapore recorded a total of 2.96 million visitors.
Of these, 378,490 are from India. Indonesia is the largest source of foreign visitors to Singapore through August, with 588,870. In third place is Malaysia with 264,170, followed by Australia (258,670) and Vietnam (177,510). About 725,000 foreigners came to Singapore every month in July and August, the highest level so far this year. At this rate, and if global travel continues to pick up, Singapore expects to reach around 6 million visitors by the end of the year.
COVID-19 caused the tourism industry in Singapore to shut down completely. Businesses dependent on tourism, such as restaurants, hotels, and retail stores, have closed (some forever) and workers in the industry have had to find other forms of employment. If you don’t count the first three months of 2020 – just before the pandemic-enforced border closures around the world – Singapore welcomed just 90,000 foreign visitors in 2020. In 2021 it did slightly better with 330,000 visitors. At its peak in 2019, Singapore was the fifth most visited city in the world with over 19.1 million visitors, beating out more glamorous cities like New York and Paris.
During Singapore’s COVID-enforced tourism winter, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) was not sitting still. Instead, it went on the offensive to ensure Singapore stays in the minds of potential foreign visitors. STB regional offices launched new initiatives to engage fans and strengthened Singapore’s brand image around the world. It has also partnered with technology, media and tourism industry players in key source markets to collectively promote Singapore as an attractive destination for future travellers. When the Formula 1 circus rolls into Singapore this week for the 13th edition of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix, it will signal Singapore’s strong return as a host of world-class events after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the tourism industry to a halt.
With pent-up demand for exciting live events, spectators from around the world will flock to the city-state in numbers not seen since the inaugural Singapore GP in 2008, when 300,000 spectators attended the event. Since then, the best three-day attendance was the 268,000 reached in 2019. COVID-19 has ended the world’s only street course night race in 2020 and 2021. Since the pandemic began, STB has worked closely with industry partners to chart a new path for the tourism industry. In February 2020, the Tourism Recovery Action Task Force (TRAC) was established, made up of tourism leaders from both the private and public sectors to develop and implement joint recovery strategies. TRAC helped identify opportunities arising from COVID-19 and drive and implement actions to collectively create recovery plans and inspire confidence in Singapore’s tourism sector.
During the tourism lull, various training and education activities were held to support the industrial workers for the period of tourism resumption. These included workplace transformation initiatives to train existing employees in new skills that would allow them to be deployed in other areas outside of their specialization. The result of STB’s active efforts to reposition Singapore as a top tourism and business destination in Asia was the industry’s rapid recovery when the borders were opened.
In the first three months of 2022, Singapore hosted more than 150 local and international events, attended by over 37,000 people, according to the tourism authority. With COVID restrictions easing and tourism picking up, as evidenced by the number of arrivals over the past few months, hotels have been busy. Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that hotel rooms in Singapore are the most expensive in nearly a decade amid a host of high-profile events coming up in the coming months.
The latest data from STB shows that the average hotel room rate in July has increased nearly 70 percent year-on-year since September 2012 to SGD259 (US$185) per night. Even so, staying at a five-star luxury hotel in Singapore still compares favorably to regional competitors. Growth in visitor arrivals is expected to continue as a variety of international business, entertainment and sporting events are planned for the remainder of the year. The Formula 1 Grand Prix is just one of many.
Just before the Grand Prix, Singapore will host the Milken Institute Asia Summit and the Forbes Global CEO Conference. Also planned are the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference and several crypto events in September, followed by Gamescom Asia in October, the Bloomberg New Economy Forum and the World One Health Congress, both in November. When it comes to entertainment, world class acts are coming to Singapore including Westlife and Green Day during the Grand Prix and later in the year Justin Bieber, Maroon Five and Guns N’ Roses.
S Iswaran, Singapore’s Transport Minister and Minister in Charge of Trade Relations, who was the senior government official responsible for the Grand Prix, firmly believes that the Grand Prix is a powerful hub for tourists, global events and business meetings, and enhances Singapore’s reputation as a cosmopolitan city with vibrant Lifestyle. Singapore extended its hosting rights for the Grand Prix for a further seven years to 2028 in January this year. It is reported that STB pays around USD 35 million per year for the hosting rights and that it costs around USD 100 million to operate. Organizers claim Singapore has benefited from around $1.1 billion in incremental tourism revenue since its inception.
“The overall benefits will accrue to our tourism industry, particularly hospitality – which will benefit hotels, the air travel industry, but also F&B and our retail,” Iswaran said at a community event in late August. “Overall I think it has a positive impact on the broader hospitality and other sectors associated with the Formula 1 event.”
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)