Mideast travellers to Singapore up 16pc

Singapore calling: Peh (left) and Kang

SINGAPORE hopes to attract regional tourists for its healthcare and family-friendly attractions, a tourism official told TTN.

The Middle East is one of the fastest growing source markets for the city state at 16 per cent in 2006 over the previous year. Last year, Singapore received more than 82,000 visitors from the region, breaking previous records, said Siew-Kheng Kang, regional director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Singapore Tourism Board.
Globally, the tourism sector generated an estimated $8.3 billion in tourism receipts in 2006, exceeding the target of $7.8 billion and posting a double digit growth of 14.5 per cent over 2005 - a new record for Singapore.
The top five countries in the region in terms of visitor numbers were, in descending order, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and Qatar.
“We are delighted to see record-breaking growth coming from within the Middle East market in terms of visitor arrivals and look forward to welcoming even higher numbers of travellers for the MENA region in 2007,” she said.
Travellers from the region are primarily leisure tourists, she said, and the country wants to reach the MICE market as well as tap the medical tourist, particularly for cancer care and quaternary health services.
“Singapore offers a wealth of unique experiences for visitors from the Middle East, providing a diverse range of dining, travel and entertainment options, in addition to a fantastic climate year-round and a welcoming and friendly community,” she added.
Visitors who have been to the country before shouldn’t think they’ve seen it all, said Ke-Wei Peh, area director for MEA Region, Singapore Tourism Board, pointing out that a number of new attractions will continue to attract visitors throughout 2007, such as Singapore’s largest shopping mall VivoCity, with over one million sqft of space. For those looking to take a full break, Singapore will shortly be opening Resorts World at Sentosa, a fully integrated resort.
“Singapore will be launching a series of dedicated campaigns throughout the year to continue the ongoing growth of visitor numbers from the Middle East. In particular, we have an increased variety of material in Arabic to ensure that visitors will have access to the full range of Singapore experiences,” said Peh.
All top ten markets for Singapore posted growth, with eight of them achieving record highs for their respective markets. Major markets for the country internationally were Indonesia (1.9 million visitors), China (1.037 million), Australia (692,000), India (659,000) and Malaysia (634,000), accounting for about 51 per cent of total arrivals.