singapore_merlionSINGAPORE, Feb 11 (Bernama) – Singapore, expecting its tourism industry to dip further this year following the gloomy global economic outlook, today laid out a S$90 million (RM216 million) plan and launched a “2009 reasons to enjoy Singapore” global marketing campaign to boost the sector.

Aptly named BOOST (Building on Opportunities to Strengthen Tourism), the plan aimed to help the dwindling Singapore’s tourism sector “overcome the clear and present challenges”, according to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran.

Speaking at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Tourism Industry Conference here, Iswaran said 2009 would be a challenging year for the global travel industry as the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) had projected that global travel would either remain flat or decline by two per cent.

The republic already had a taste of the downside of the global impact when last year it had about 10.1 million visitor arrivals which was two percent less than the 10.3 million achieved in 2007 after enjoying strong tourism growth in recent years though tourism receipts had risen by five percent to S$14.8 billion.

The minister said STB had forecast that this year’s visitor arrivals to decline further to between nine million and 9.5 million and tourism receipts would be lower in the range of S$12 billion to S$12.5 billion.

Iswaran said the “2009 reasons to enjoy Singapore” was a year-long campaign aimed at offering visitors attractive travel packages and promotions to visit Singapore.

Meanwhile STB’s Chief Executive Aw Kah Peng told a media briefing that Malaysia was one of the four main regional markets — the others were China, India and Indonesia – that were targeted under the BOOST plan.

She said Malaysia and Indonesia contributed much of the individual visitors or free and independent travellers to Singapore while China and India provided the group visitors category which accounted for 50 percent of the republic’s tourist arrivals.

Aw said under the plan STB would also target Vietnam as the emerging market and capture the million stopover travellers mainly from Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom transiting at Changi Airport.

She also said STB would leverage on the global online social network ‘Facebook’ to reach out potential travellers to the republic.

Aw said special deals and promotions would be offered to the netizens including the “Fly on Us” campaign that would offer S$500,000 worth of free air tickets to Singapore as well as S$10,000 cash to be won monthly, which would be launched on Feb 19. — Bernama



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