Visitors from Davao sought

Subscribe Now November 18, 2010 at 09:03pm

The Singapore Tourism Board is banking on Universal Studios Singapore on Sentosa Island as well as additional direct flights to lure more tourists from this city.

"It now depends on airlines how to use the extra air capacity. Davao City is a good market," Lynelle Snow, area director of the Singapore Tourism Board for Philippines and Brunei, told journalists here on Wednesday. Last year, travelers from this city comprised less than 3% of the 430,000 Filipinos who went to Singapore.

Although Ms. Snow said that’s already a sizeable number, more promotion is needed for locals to know a lot more about Singapore.

The Davao-Singapore route is served four times weekly by SilkAir, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines.

Filipinos ranked eighth in the top 10 foreign visitors to the port city-state, Ms. Snow said, and a favorite destination has been Universal Studios Singapore.

Nestled within Resorts World Sentosa, Universal Studios Singapore opened just last March but has already attracted over a million visitors in six months.

One of the misconceptions about Singapore is the high cost of living, but Ms. Snow said expenses would depend on how well planned a trip would be.

"There are places you can spend (an equivalent of) P100 per meal and add another P30 for drinks," she said.

Filipino visitors, she said, can also loiter around the famous Orchard Road, which have four new shopping malls that are connected with underground tunnels.

Ramon Jose Gutierrez, Singapore Tourism Board assistant manager for tourism business, said the "Your Singapore" Web site is highly interactive with several online services for prospective visitors.

"You can go to a function there and compare hotel prices, so right away you can specify if you want a three-star, four-star or three-and-a-half star hotel," he said.

Ms. Snow said the key elements to a successful tourism campaign, which Singapore has utilized and almost perfected, are infrastructure, the ability to adapt and transform, as well as effective partnership between the private sector and the government.

"It all starts with a vision and to realize that vision," she said, adding that one needs to understand what the markets needs and then go the extra mile by offering something better.

Singapore, she said, expects as many as 12.5 million foreign tourists this year, with tourism earnings making up 3% of its gross domestic product.

The Philippines, meanwhile, still hopes to increase visitors just slightly to about 3.3 million this year.


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