MINISTER, CHAIRMAN, STB BOARD MEMBERS, TOURISM SECTOR COLLEAGUES, LADIES & GENTLEMEN
- Thank you for joining this year’s Tourism Industry Conference
The story of Singapore’s tourism development over the last 50 years is a phenomenal one
- From 90,000 visitors in 1964 to 15.5 million in 2013
- Let us celebrate 50 years of economic contribution and job creation, 50 years of profiling Singapore internationally, and 50 years of enlarging leisure options for Singaporeans
- A key success factor of Singapore tourism is the close partnership between the public and the private sector. This partnership must continue to grow for the next 50 years.
We forecast continued growth in 2014, and we are well-positioned for good growth over the medium term, capitalising on the rise of Asia
- According to UNWTO’s forecast, the strongest tourism growth will be seen in Asia and the Pacific, and arrivals to Asia are expected to increase at about 5% per year to 2030.
Last year at TIC, I introduced the framework for our goal of Quality Tourism. There are 3 dimensions of Quality Tourism and 4 pathways that will enable us to achieve this goal.
- We must seize opportunities for growth that secures high yield per visitor, while building competitive industries and creating rewarding and meaningful careers for Singaporeans. Our work in tourism must also involve developing a city that we are all proud to live in, and reinforce an image of Singapore that resonates with us.
- This year, I want to share with you what we have done under each of the 4 pathways, outline opportunities for industry to get more involved, and the challenges we need to overcome together
- Let me start with our approach for international marketing
We have adopted a yield-driven and consumer-centric marketing approach
- We define our target audience as the segment of people in our target markets who are most able and inclined to take advantage of Singapore’s value proposition
- Our target audience’s needs vary from market to market. We seek to understand them so that we can deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience, so as to drive demand for travel to Singapore
Allow me to share
- how the consumer-centric marketing approach has worked successfully in our target markets; and
- how we intend to continue this momentum this year by:
- cultivating partners for joint marketing
- developing marketing content from a fresh angle, and
- driving more marketing campaigns overseas.
Our consumer-centric approach to marketing has shown good results
[Right message] India’s marketing campaign took into account that Indian visitors see travel as a means to forge deeper relationships and gain new knowledge.
- Our campaign in India reinforced the message “Singapore – The Holiday You Take Home With You”.
- From the choice of visuals to the selection of tourism experiences, the campaign features prominently the concept of family, relationships, and bonding to showcase the offerings that would appeal to the Indian audience.
[Right time] The campaign was launched to coincide with booking periods:
- Mar to May – target the summer holidays (Apr – Jul)
- Oct to Dec – target Diwali holiday (Oct) and winter holidays (Nov to Jan)
- The Indian campaign yielded good results,
- 88% year-on-year increase in visits to our microsite for India – this translates to more than 230,000 extra visits over the year.
- 47% increase in Facebook fans – this translates to almost 55,000 new fans.
- Travel Agents reported increase of 10-30% in Singapore sales during and after campaign.
We customised our marketing efforts depending on needs and trends of markets:
[Australia] We tapped on Australians’ love for discovery of new cultures to challenge their dated perception of Singapore, and played on the Aussie phrase “Get Lost” with the tagline of “Get lost and find the real Singapore”
[Philippines] Erwan Heusaff, well-known personality with over 440,000 followers on Twitter and 270,000 followers on Instagram, was the face of our #TheCuriousTraveller campaign where he goes on adventures in Singapore as voted by the public. This is an example of user-generated activation featuring a KOL
[Thailand] Campaign video took the form of music video, tapping on the popularity of Thai singer Stamp Apiwat [pronounced ah-pee-what], to showcase iconic and hidden gems of Singapore.
[China] Campaign video was framed as a mini sequel to a wildly popular romantic drama (我可能不会爱你). The mini-movie was set in Singapore and has garnered more than 170 million views on Youku.com to date.
- I will show you a compilation of the videos for our campaigns in Australia, Philippines, Thailand and China, which will give you a flavour of how our consumer centric marketing works. They represent different ways we are reaching out to our target audiences in our target markets, different ways of showing what Singapore has to offer. [Play video compilation of campaigns in Australia, Philippines, Thailand and China]
STB adopts a partnership-oriented stance for marketing.
- STB recognises that industry players and STB can achieve much more by combining our resources to amplify marketing efforts.
- Singapore Airlines shares a common interest in growing a sustainable pipeline of visitors to Singapore, and we will increase our collaboration efforts with them globally.
- This year, beyond jointly marketing Singapore, STB and Singapore Airlines will also curate and promote relevant experiences in Singapore that resonate with each market’s target audience
- More details will be announced later this month
To appeal to our target audience, we can no longer just tell them how exciting Singapore is. We need to tell a compelling story which evoke emotion, engage and entertain.
- We have a set of five marketing videos that are examples of our approach of storytelling through meaningful content, some of which you might have seen playing earlier before the start of the conference.
- Four of them have already been released. They tell stories about different facets of Singapore
- “Magical” is about family and relationships
- “Lyrical” shows our architecture
- “All Work, All Play” shows how our leisure options complement business
- “Shiok” is about the diversity of leisure offerings in Singapore and how Singaporeans enjoy them
- The fifth one is the latest addition to the set. It is about food, but it's not just about our love for eating. It's about our culture and heritage. Most appropriately, it's called “Rojak”.
- These videos can be found on our YouTube channel, will appear on inflight screens, at trade shows and tourism-related events, and are available for our trade partners’ use.
This year, we will be stepping up leisure marketing efforts in major markets:
- On top of the usual marketing and PR activities, we will be launching full-scale integrated marketing campaigns in 8 markets this year (Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam)
- This means that in these 8 markets, there will be a strong, consistent marketing message sent to the target audience at a variety of marketing channels: traditional print ads, social media adverts, content generated by KOL, campaign website, roadshows, etc.
- This is a step up from the 5 integrated marketing campaigns we did last year (Australia, China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia).
We are also investing more into marketing in support of the MICE industry. Our new MICE marketing collaterals aim to bring more new events to Singapore and drive attendance for events that will be hosted in Singapore
- You can see a sample of the print adverts we have developed
- Our budget for MICE marketing this financial year (FY14/15) has increased by 20%. With this, STB will be:
- Strengthening our MICE brand to capture mindshare, and
- Undertaking tactical marketing campaigns to drive attendance for MICE events that you are organising in Singapore
Join our country-specific breakouts to discuss consumer insights, find out details of our marketing plans and explore collaboration opportunities
- STB’s Regional Office directors who oversee our top 6 largest source markets from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Australia and Japan are here today
- We would like to work with industry partners in marketing. You can take this opportunity to join hands with STB on marketing Singapore to the world
- Moving on to the second pathway of enhancing destination attractiveness, this ensures that we continue to have good quality tourism offerings in Singapore.
The appeal of our destination’s leisure offerings has been validated by international sources:
- Singapore is ranked top in Asia and 10th overall in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness ranking for 2013
- We were in TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Travellers’ Choice Asia Destinations in 2013, moving up 5 places to number 8, compared to our ranking in 2012
- We have award-winning tourism products
- F&B: 8 restaurants listed in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants
- Attractions: Gardens by the Bay: Building of the Year
- Nightspots: Zouk: #7 in Top 100 Clubs (World Ranking) (DJ Mag, 2014)
- RWS won “Best Integrated Resort” in the Annual TTG Travel Awards 2013 and ESPA won “Best Luxury Destination Spa” and “Best Luxury Wellness Spa” at the World Luxury Spa Awards 2014
We have good tourism products in the pipeline
- As mentioned by Minister Iswaran, significant tourism infrastructure is coming on-stream, including the newly opened River Safari, the Sports Hub, Pinacotheque, National Gallery Singapore, as well as Kidzania and Madame Tussauds on Sentosa. Science Centre will also open Kids STOP, a children’s science museum catering to those aged 8 and below.
We are seeing traction with our newly expanded cruise infrastructure
- The investment in both the Singapore Cruise Centre at Harbourfront and the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore has anchored our position as the regional hub for cruise tourism.
- Last year, we received a record high 390 ship calls, which translated to a total of 1.03 million cruise passenger throughput – a 13% increase from 2012.
- STB has been working with the cruise companies and industry partners like Raffles Hotels and WRS to include new programmes in the shore excursion itineraries for cruise passengers.
We welcome the imminent opening of the Sports Hub. It’s appeal comprises a mix of quality hardware and software
- Sports Hub is a great addition to our tourism hardware. It is a fully integrated sports, leisure, entertainment and lifestyle arena
- Its profile will be boosted by an array of sporting and lifestyle events in the year ahead. We can look forward to:
- Sporting events:
Pop concerts by
- Rugby World Club 10s
- Southeast Asian Swimming Championships 2014
- ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup 2014
WTAC event will serve to showcase both Sports Hub and Singapore as a whole
- Taylor Swift, and
- Jay Chou.
The opening of the Pinacotheque museum and the National Gallery next year will complement a blossoming visual arts scene
- One of the highlights of events at the Sports Hub is the Women's Tennis Association Championships (WTAC), taking place in Singapore from 2014 – 2018.
- Just as we have made F1 our own, the Singapore version of WTAC will also be bigger and better.
- While the tennis tournament will take place at the Indoor Stadium, the entire Sports Hub will be activated with a suite of integrated lifestyle and entertainment offerings:
- Lifestyle Entertainment – National Stadium
- Fan Festival – Fan Zone areas
- Legends Event – Singapore Indoor Stadium
- Practice sessions – OCBC Arena
- WTAC will be another great opportunity to showcase Singapore to a global audience.
- STB will actively partner other tourism stakeholders to develop special itineraries that will extend the tennis experience beyond the Sports Hub and into the city
- We look forward to the industry’s continued support to make the Singapore version of WTAC a success, adding another gem into our Sports calendar
Beyond Sports and Arts, there is a strong line-up of leisure programming this year in all our tourism sectors
- The Singapore Art Week returned this past January for the second year and boasted over 70 events in 2014, a sizeable increase from the 50 events in 2013’s edition
- Art Week’s anchor event, Art Stage Singapore, welcomed a record high of 46,000 visitors this year, a 12% increase from 2013
- I also want to commend the newly-formed Art Galleries Association of Singapore for organising the Art-In-Motion bus tours, which received over 250 participants over its two days during Art Week
The key point in this pathway on destination attractiveness is that we must combine hardware investments with efforts to build software. Ultimately it is software (or programming) that will give us a more sustainable competitive edge in terms of destination attractiveness
- Dining (18th edition of World Gourmet Summit, Singapore Food Festival Gold Edition in celebration of 21st anniversary: a walk down memory lane, Wine Fiesta in its 7th year)
- Retail (Great Singapore Sale – 20th year, Asia Fashion Exchange)
- Lifestyle/Entertainment (we have home-grown events like Zoukout, as well as new imports like Laneway Festival)
- Culture and Precinct (Christmas Light-up, Chinatown CNY Light-up)
For our Attractions industry, we need to do more to create inspirational and memorable experiences
- As mentioned at TIC last year, experience creation will become increasingly important as travellers desire more in-depth experiences.
- ‘Software’ is hard to replicate and will differentiate Singapore from our competitors, who might be catching up in terms of hardware, infrastructure and volume
Our MICE sector remains in a position of strength in our delivery of trusted quality experiences to MICE visitors, and we can look forward to a busy calendar ahead
- Attractions Experience Design Series was launched last year
- The series was a collaboration between STB, Workforce Development Agency of Singapore (WDA) and Association of Singapore Attractions (ASA)
- It aims to enhance the attraction industry’s capabilities in designing and delivering emotive visitor experiences.
- The pilot was attended by some 600 participants.
- We are happy to hear some very positive feedback, e.g.
- The series has inspired participants with ideas to be implemented in their attractions
- It provided a good platform for stakeholders to work together rather than viewing one another as competitors.
- The next phase for this would be the Attractions Experience Development Initiative (AEDI)
- Attractions would embark on a curated study trip to learn about experience creation
- They would then identify their own experiential gaps and apply trip learnings to improve their own businesses.
- More details on this initiative will be shared by Q2 of this year.
I’ve gone through 2 of our 4 pathways. The headline takeaway is that the demand drivers are healthy for Singapore as a tourism destination. We are not a low cost Asian destination but we compete well in terms of value for money
- Last year, we had a vibrant business events calendar.
- Singapore hosted 12 world congresses, all of which held for the first time in Singapore
- This includes the World Library and Information Congress which attracted 3,900 top international librarians from 114 countries.
- We also hosted the Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition, which amalgamates four large-scale events related to urban transport and mobility and brought together over 1,500 conference delegates and 3,000 trade visitors.
- This year, we can look forward to the same level of buzz in terms of business events
- Our established shows have grown from year to year:
- Singapore Airshow 2014 (11 – 16 Feb 2014) welcomed a record number of 46,000 visitors from 129 countries, and closed with record-setting deals worth US$32 billion.
- We have also secured a number of large-scale MICE events
- The Herbalife Asia Extravaganza, largest ever corporate meeting to be held in Singapore, is expected to attract 23,000 attendees over 3 days.
- When the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists hold their conjoint meeting in Singapore next month, some 4,700 delegates are expected.
While demand is healthy, there are significant supply-side challenges to be overcome if we are to tap on these opportunities
- Continued efforts in targeted marketing
- Strong pipeline of quality products and events
- In the next section, let me explain why we cannot continue in a business-as-usual manner, and share some thoughts on how we can work together to overcome our challenges.
The tourism sector needs to transform for sustainable growth. Strengthening industry competiveness and upgrading the capabilities of both companies and workers are keyLet me zoom in on the manpower challenge we face. There are 2 dimensions to this challenge
These challenges impact our tourism industries to varying degrees. STB has embarked on efforts to tackle the most critical issues faced by each industry, most of which can only be done with strong support from you. Let me share more about each industry now.
- Firstly, workforce growth for our economy, including the tourism sector, will slow down.
- Singapore’s overall workforce grew at 3.3% per year in the past 30 years. For the rest of this decade, this rate is expected to be 1-2% per year, and may slow further beyond 2020 as the population ages.
- In the tourism sector, we have been used to a much faster rate of growth. Take the hotel industry for example. Since 2009, the hotel industry’s workforce has grown by 5.5% per year.
- Even with this large workforce growth, we know that many of our hotels are still facing a manpower shortage today.
- With even more hotel rooms coming onstream in the next few years, this crunch will get worse if the industry does not transform. Based on our rough estimates, an additional shortage of about 3,000 workers by 2017 is looming if we don’t make adjustments. This is almost 10% of the industry’s current workforce.
- Hence, tourism companies that wish to grow must learn to make do with slower manpower growth.
Secondly, the changing population profile and aspirations of Singaporeans mean that we need to look seriously into matching good tourism jobs with local aspirations.
- By 2020, more than 40% of potential jobseekers will be university graduates. In another 10 more years, two-thirds of Singaporeans will expect to hold PMET jobs.
- This is worrying for the tourism sector: taking the example of the hotel industry, PMET jobs today comprise less than 30% of the industry’s workforce.
- Hence, we must look at how the tourism sector can offer jobs that Singaporeans are
willing – i.e. jobs that are attractive to locals – and
able – i.e. jobs in which Singaporeans are properly equipped to fulfil – to do.
Today, our hotel industry is
Innovation can help us transform some of these jobs into more substantive ones. But is
not just about job redesign. It is
also about hotel redesign.
- highly labour intensive, and
- dominated by rank and file jobs.
STB has been developing an
industry storybank with case studies of hotels that are leading the way in innovating for growth. With these stories, we will also have hard data and key information about the various hotel improvement projects. The storybank will be ready in the coming months, and will be housed on STB’s corporate website.STB has also embarked on
2 studies to better understand the gaps in specific areas of hotel operations, and identify opportunities for improvement.
- This requires a rethinking of business models and concepts, which will eventually translate into a redesign of the physical layout of hotels, challenge our current assumptions about their daily operations, and create a new service proposition that can still appeal to consumers.
we are seeing some hotels embrace change in smart ways. Some examples of these are The Westin, Sofitel So, The Amoy and One Farrer Hotel and Spa.
- One Farrer Hotel and Spa is a luxury hotel opening in July. The hotel is planning on utilising 30% less manpower relative to industry norm. Technologies adopted include a fully automated conveyer belt system for laundry. They plan to offer a “virtual” restaurant, i.e. offering different food varieties in the community, yet not having the physical restaurant, which require manpower, in the hotel.
- Furthermore, One Farrer Hotel and Spa plans to offer a complimentary minibar as part of the hotel package. It means One Farrer does not need to have staff tracking the consumption and billing of food items in the minibar.
- For The Amoy, housekeeping productivity was carefully considered in the design of rooms given the constraints of the space and footprint. They use daybeds in some rooms, using mattresses that are lighter and easier to manage. Housekeepers move around with backpacks instead of bulky trolleys.
We recognise that
we cannot change all hotels all at once. STB will work with pipeline hotels to ensure that they embrace new business models that are more manpower efficient. For existing hotels, we are seeking to partner with those more ready to transform, more ready to make the leap. We have to start building and growing this coalition of the willing.I am co-chairing a
Hotel Industry Expert Panel with Arthur Kiong, CEO of Far East Hospitality Group. This Panel, which comprises local industry leaders and overseas experts, will help us review and develop our plans for the transformation of the hotel industry for sustainable growth.
STB is also committed to work with the hotel industry on attracting and retaining local talent
- The first study is on
identifying critical service touch-points in hotels to relook Singapore hotel’s service model.
- The second study is centred on identifying gaps that can be closed through
- Both studies are done in close partnership with hotels here and will be completed by Q3 of this year.
Let me now turn my attention briefly to travel agents, tourist guides and the MICE industry.
- To this end, STB has started work on a hotel manpower roadmap.
- We will be doing an industry deep dive to understand the career pathways, human capital practices, and most importantly, identify good jobs in the hotel industry.
- We aim to develop a framework that showcases the good jobs offered by the industry, in terms of career pathways, skills and competencies needed, and wage structures.
- We have hospitality companies based here that have a global footprint of properties. These companies require skilled manpower to fuel their growth, in hotel operations management as well as in their executive management teams. Therefore we have a right to win our fair share of Singapore talent for this industry.
Travel agents are another key component of the tourism value chain, and must continue to reinvent their products and services to remain relevant.
- STB and NATAS have embarked on a manpower study of the industry:
- Intent is to identify what is needed in travel agencies’ HR framework and practices in order to help travel agents attract talent, and offer better and more relevant travel products and services.
- Study should be finished in the third quarter of this year, and will help us plan future manpower initiatives that will be jointly executed by NATAS and STB.
For the tourist guide industry, our focus is on improving the quality of training courses, in terms of flexibility and certification.
- A STB-WDA-e2i taskforce has been set up to review the industry’s training and competency framework, in particular curriculum content and format.
- STB was also pleased to welcome the collaboration between the Society of Tourist Guides Singapore (STGS) and World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations to provide training courses with internationally recognised certification and accreditation.
- This would enable our guides to be recognised for their efforts to differentiate themselves through skills upgrading, and raise guiding standards in Singapore.
- STGS’s effort in this area can be supported by the new Association Development Fund – which I will touch on shortly.
MICE is in a position of strength today but we want to continue to strengthen our capability to deliver quality MICE experiences.
We want to finetune the ideas for MICE 2020 with inputs from more industry members, so please join us at the breakout session later for a deeper discussion.
The tourism sector needs to transform substantially in order to realise the full potential of the growth opportunities available. To support these efforts, help is available through our Tourism Capability Development Scheme.
- STB is working closely with industry to co-develop the MICE 2020 Roadmap. This is a medium term plan for 2020, as we continue our work on the longer-term infrastructure and manpower challenges.
- A big thank you to the industry members who have participated in formulating the roadmap so far
- To share more on what this roadmap is about, I will let a short video do the talking.
In addition to this, we now have the
Association Development Fund (ADF).
- The breakout session after the tea break will tell you more about our Tourism Technology Fund (TTF), Business Improvement Fund (BIF) and Training Industry Professionals in Tourism (TIP-iT) grant.
- We have also invited a few speakers to share with you their experiences in tapping on these schemes to bring about improvements within their organisations. Do join us then.
- Through the ADF, STB can co-fund associations’ activities such as training, technology and infrastructure development, market development, and brand development.
- Some examples of these activities include training for the association’s staff, test-bedding of new technologies for the industry, or studies and study trips to benchmark association best practices.
- In this way, we hope to equip associations to take on greater leadership roles in driving the development and growth of their respective industries and precincts.
- STB has found that working with associations is an excellent way of engaging with stakeholders, and we have a good history of working with industry associations like Singapore Hotel Association and National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS), as well as precinct associations like Orchard Road Business Association.
- We welcome new ones like the Sentosa-Harbourfront Business Association to the landscape. Through these associations, stakeholders take ownership for industry development and precinct growth, and through the ADF we would like to channel more support to them.
Finally, I want to talk about building local engagement. This is as important for STB as it is for industry.At TIC last year, I touched on the engagement STB undertook in refurbishing Chinatown Food Street. This is now open and I would encourage you to check it out with friends and family. We continued to work with local community in the Chinatown coLAB event to develop mobile applications that can tap on the newly launched WiFi@Chinatown.
Tourism businesses in Singapore are also engaging and deepening their ties with local community:
Every Singaporean or Singapore resident can be a potential tourism advocate; both STB and the industry need to think more deeply about how we can do more to engage the local community and to tap on the latent energies in our community to promote tourism.
- Resorts World Sentosa has Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives themed around education. Each year, they:
- Offer more than 50 scholarship to students from ITE to university
- Provide more than 500 structured internship opportunities for students
- Run the RWS Apprenticeship programme where RWS senior management mentors youths-at-risk, imparting their skills and expertise to them
- As part of the Sands for Singapore programme, Marina Bay Sands staged a free, open-to-public live simulcast of the Rolling Stones concert last month (Mar 2014). In a show of support for local bands, the public was treated to opening performances by local bands.
- Far East Organisation ran a Far East Heritage Festival from July to September last year , offering their guests free guided tours that will enable them to have a deeper understanding and engagement with local ways of life.
- We look forward to hearing from the industry on your efforts to engage and obtain buy-in from locals for existing and new tourism products.
As part of celebrating Tourism 50, we wanted to reach out to Singaporeans to remind them of the impact that tourism has had on their lives.
- Thanks to social media, every resident is a potential tourism advocate. Content posted by ordinary residents can go viral:
- I scoot Singapore
- A video made by an expat couple that shows their daughter going around iconic Singapore landmarks on a scooter.
- The video attracted over 50,000 views in 4 months
- It attracted many positive responses from locals expressing pride over Singapore.
- There are also niche blogs where writers share about a particular topic of passion, e.g.
- The Chinatown resident and blogger, Victor Yue, who blogs about Chinatown heritage, and is an advocate for Chinatown
- Our tourism products will lend themselves to higher credibility internationally and be perceived as more authentic if they have the endorsement of locals.
- The first phase of reminiscing kicked off with Reliving Haw Par Villa, International Tourist Guide Day and Project Postcard
- Over 12,000 people were drawn to Haw Par Villa under the Reliving Haw Par Villa event held over 2 weekends in March
- Singaporeans were given free guided tours themed around tourism nostalgia by members of Society of Tourist Guides over the weekend of 29 – 30 March, and this was attended by over 900 people.
- A big thank you to all the tourist guides who volunteered their time and effort and shared their passion for Singapore with the locals.
- I truly believe that tourism development has
the potential to help us appreciate our own city more. Many Singaporeans who have lived abroad for a few years and returned recently are pleasantly surprised by the vibrancy of both the new and old parts of our urban landscape. Local support and participation is an important dimension of our success in the tourism sector.
- The second phase on Rediscovering will be launched soon, with more activities the locals can participate in. More details will be announced very soon.
In conclusion, I would like this TIC to usher in a new phase of partnership between STB and industry.
Please join the breakout sessions to learn how STB can continue our partnership with you on the journey towards Quality Tourism.Thank you and I wish all of you fruitful discussions at the breakouts.
- We can work together more closely on marketing Singapore, and in strengthening the proposition of destination Singapore.
- STB will partner with industry to overcome the supply-side challenges so that we can take advantage of growth opportunities.
- And we must jointly engage the public in an active manner to build support for and participation in our sector.