Singapore emerging hot destination for Indians

February 27th, 2008 - 10:11 pm ICT by admin  

Bangalore, Feb 27 (IANS) More Indians are flocking to Singapore than ever before, riding on a booming economy, increasing disposable incomes and panache for overseas destinations, a top Singapore tourism board (STB) official said here Wednesday. “Indians are the fourth largest group of visitors to the island-nation after Indonesians, Chinese and Australians. During the last calendar year (2007), 749,000 Indians came calling as against 658,685 in 2006, accounting for seven percent of the total visitors (about 10 million),” STB regional director Siew-Kheng Kang told reporters at a road show to showcase Singapore as a hot destination for the people in the subcontinent.

The top four Indian cities from where majority of the visitors travel to Singapore for leisure, business, conferences or education are Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore.

“As India’s silicon hub, Bangalore is the fourth largest market for us in India, with a year-on-year growth of 3.1 percent. We had over 50,000 visitors from Bangalore last year, making the city the second largest source of tourism for us after Chennai in the south.

“Interestingly, leisure travel with families account for 58 percent of the total Indian visitors, followed by 30 percent business travellers for MICE (meetings, interventions, conferences and exhibitions) and the remaining (12 percent) for education and visiting friends and relatives,” Siew-Kheng said.

Unlike other foreign tourists who go to Singapore for two-three days, Indians on average visit for five-six days, spending upwards of Singapore dollars 1,200 per day.

As a city-state with a population of 4.5 million, Singapore attracted 10 million visitors in 2007, contributing Singapore dollars 13.8 billion, which accounts for three percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).

“As Singapore is well connected to dozen Indian cities with 154 flights a week, we have seen a surge in visitors from cities such as Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad. Even middle-class families and individuals from secondary cities are making a beeline to Singapore for sight-seeing, shopping and holidaying,” Siew-Khang noted.

In a bid to maintain the visitor growth rate from India in double digits and more than 14 percent registered last year, STB is re-packaging the country with added attractions such as Singapore Grand Prix (Formula 1) to be held in September, Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest observation wheel, and Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.

“We are targeting one million visitors from India in 2009. Besides popular attractions such as resort islands of Sentosa and Bintan and all-time favourite tourist spots, including Jurong bird park, Singapore zoo and night safari, we are working overtime to open the Marina Bay Sands resort, with world-class dining, shopping and entertainment outlets under one roof by March 2009,” Siew-Khang added.

As an economic development agency of the Singapore government, STB hard-sells the island nation as a memorable destination.

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