Singapore bets big on films

The Singapore Tourism Board has chosen to reach its target audience via the traditional route of films, banking not just on Bollywood but also regional films to work their magic on Indian travellers.

TT Bureau

It did wonders for Switzerland and Spain and now Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is hoping that the film industry will help popularise the destination even more. The NTO recently associated with the Bollywood production titled ‘Dear Zindagi’ even though most of screen space in the film has Goa as its backdrop. But that didn’t discourage STB. G.B. Srithar, Regional Director, South Asia, Middle East and Africa (SAMEA), Singapore Tourism Board, who returned to the India market after being away for three years, says, “Bollywood is big on Singaporeand we are happy about that. We have realised that over the last five decades since Shammi Kapoor’s time, Singapore has always beenfeatured very positively in Indian movies.”

STB is not leaving out regional films either. Srithar adds, “Whether it is Kollywood or Tollywood, there are many movies being shot in Singapore. Our key objective in working with production houses is to observe how they are portraying Singapore.” The next movie with which STB is association itself is Dharma Productions’ Badrinath ki Dulhaniya that will be released in March 2017. “Through the movies, we want to showcase some of the newer attractions in Singapore and show the city’s local sights and sounds since more and more travellers want to explore the city as a local,” Srithar adds.

However, he says that there are no single-window clearances for filming in public spaces in Singapore. “Locations either fall under variousgovernment authorities or are privately owned. We can help production houses to connect with local fixers who can facilitate and coordinatewith the relevant authorities in Singapore to secure location permissions,” Srithar adds.

Crossing one-million mark In 2015, STB crossed the one-million mark and welcomed a record number of 1.014 million visitors. It also saw contribution from Indian travellers to the tune of 1.167 billion Singapore dollars. In 2016, the number of arrivals to Singapore from India was5,91,844 from January to August with a 10 per cent year-on-year growth.

Srithar reveals, “After China and Indonesia, India is the third-largest tourism receipts generating market for Singapore. Therefore, ourinvestments in the country are very important. We are hoping to welcome more visitors to Singapore. We will do this by focusing on a fewthings. One, penetrate more Tier II cities apart from the metros Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. We are also looking at other cities like Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad and Amritsar. In terms of the target segments, family traffic is very important for us and so are the working millennials as well as MICE groups. Another segment we will be promoting is cruise since Indians are now starting to enjoy cruise holidays.” STB will conduct a four city roadshow in early 2017 targeting Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. This will be followed by a six-city roadshow in mid-2017.

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