Enjoying the sights: Tourists visiting Merlion park in Singapore. — AFP
SINGAPORE: Singapore is mounting a drive in China to market itself as a standalone tourism destination, said officials, after a drop in Chinese arrivals to neighbouring countries affected the city-state.
The Straits Times newspaper reported yesterday that Singapore tourism was hurt by Chinese travellers’ reluctance to visit Malaysia due to the ongoing Flight MH370 mystery, and Thailand because of its political crisis.
The five million yuan (RM2.5mil) marketing campaign held until October will encourage Chinese travellers to visit Singapore alone.
It is jointly organised by Singapore airport operator Changi Airport Group (CAG), the Singapore Tourism Board and Chinese and Singaporean travel agencies.
The CAG said Changi handled 1.87 million passengers to and from China from January to May, a decline of 1.7% from the previous year.
However, Singapore officials declined to link the fall directly to events in nearby countries.
Out of a total 15.5 million visitors to Singapore last year, over 2.27 million were from China, according to government data.
They spent a total of S$298mil (RM765mil), making them the biggest tourist spenders in the city-state.
Michael Chiam, a senior lecturer in tourism at Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said “it makes sense for Singapore to dissociate itself” from its crisis-hit neighbours.
Most Chinese tourists currently visit Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand at the same time as part of large tour groups, he said. — AFP