Singapore tugs at heartstrings

One of the things that Singapore wants to focus on is the emotional connect that it offers Indians, whether it is celebrating family occasions, events, or festivals.

HAZEL JAIN

How can a destination continue to promote itself to a market that knows it well – well enough to have a few favourite spots in the city? You keep adding to these old-time favourites to keep the magic alive. This is what Singapore is doing to keep its fourth-largest international source market interested.

G.B. Srithar, Regional Director (SAMEA), International Group, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), explains, “The familiar products for our Indian visitors have also become a bit unfamiliar to them because of new attractions and experiences that are being added there. For instance, the zoo has a new exhibit called ‘The Reptilian Exhibition’ and Madame Tussaud’s has the new Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Bollywood interactive platform. These additions allow Indian visitors to revisit these familiar attractions.”

To promote this and much more, Singapore wants to focus on the emotional connect that it offers to Indians, whether it is through celebrating family occasions, events, or festivals. “Indian travellers are getting more and more evolved in the kind of experiences they want to have. They want to do things like walking tours and exploring neighbourhoods to have more in-depth experiences and feel the pulse of the destination. That’s the face of the future for Indian outbound,” Srithar adds.

2017 will see STB’s trade activities increase. After recently completing a four-city roadshow, STB is busy preparing for another one, this time in Tier-II cities by mid-2017. “We are looking at Ahmedabad and Lucknow. The idea is to go deeper into the markets to engage a lot more with the trade,” he reveals. Srithar underlines two Ps that will form its strategy for 2017: Partnerships and Promotions. It will form strategic partnerships with big tour operators that have pan-India presence for joint activities and marketing products, packaging, and promoting new experiences such as ethnic tours, culinary tours, World War II tours, etc.

“We will also look at localised partnerships with travel agents who are strong in markets like Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Amritsar, basically cities that have connectivity to Singapore,” Srithar adds.

Numbers add up:
• Singapore crossed the one-million mark for the second year running by November 2016. Visitor arrivals make India its fourth-largest international source market after Indonesia, China and Malaysia

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