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19th Tourism Awards honours the best in the tourism industry

The Singapore Tourism Board`s (STB) 19th Tourism Awards presentation ceremony was held today at The Esplanade Concert Hall…

The Singapore Tourism Board`s (STB) 19th Tourism Awards presentation ceremony was held today at The Esplanade Concert Hall to honour individuals and organisations that have made significant contributions to the tourism industry through their service excellence, innovation, creativity and commitment in creating unique Singapore experiences for visitors.

The awards ceremony was graced by the President of Singapore, His Excellency S R Nathan and Mrs Nathan. Over 1,000 Singapore and overseas members from the travel and tourism industry attended the event.

Twenty-six awards were presented to the hotel, BTMICE, leisure attraction, food and beverage, entertainment, spa, retail sectors, as well as foreign and local travel agencies. Overseas visitors, the public and tourism industry members nominated individuals and organisations for 22 of these awards.

Mr Simon Israel, Chairman of STB, said: Today, we pay tribute to the best of the tourism industry for their commitment, innovation and creativity as well as for their effort to add that extra touch in creating unique experiences for our visitors. These are all so vital in ensuring that Singapore remains a top destination for visitors worldwide. By recognising excellence in tourism industry with the Tourism Awards, we hope it will help raise the bar in the quality of experiences for our visitors and that the industry will continue to find innovative ways for Singapore to stay competitive.

For the first time, the number of finalists has been increased from three to a maximum of five for 11 award categories with many deserving nominees. In addition, only finalists and winners will be presented with Tourism Awards decals that endorse their status as the best in their respective sectors. These decals will also serve as a mark of excellence for visitors and locals.

This year`s Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award went to the Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB) Corporation for their tireless efforts in promoting and marketing Singapore to the Japanese market and for achieving success in being the largest tour wholesaler and top producer of Japanese visitor arrivals to Singapore for more than a decade. JTB has been instrumental in Singapore`s growth in Japan`s travel trade.

Special Recognition Awards were presented to Mr Pakir Singh, Chief Executive, Singapore Hotel Association; Mr Otto Weibel, President, Singapore Chefs Association and Mr Masaru Yanagisawa, Chairman, Hakodate Singapore Society & Honorary Tourism Consul, Singapore Tourism Board.

Mr Pakir has played a leading role in developing and growing the hospitality industry through the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) and Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre (SHATEC). Under Mr Pakir`s stewardship, SHA and SHATEC have played key roles in supporting tourism growth through marketing, product development and manpower training for the hospitality sector. Today, SHA and SHATEC are well-recognised by the public sector, as well as local and international tourism and business community.

As the longest serving President of the Singapore Chefs Association (SCA), Mr Weibel has helped raise the profiles and standards of local chefs to a global level and created a reputation for Singapore as a strong culinary contender in many international competitions. This has helped to bolster Singapore`s reputation as a unique and irresistible food destination.

Mr Yanagisawa from Hakodate in Hokkaido, northern Japan is the founder of the Hakodate Singapore Society which plays an active role in promoting Singapore`s many appeals, such as the nation`s culture, lifestyles and food to the residents of Hokkaido. Mr Yanagisawa also orchestrated the establishment of a sister relationship between the Hakodate International Tourism and Convention Association (HITCA) and the STB, enabling the exchange of ideas and best practices between Japan and Singapore. For the past eight years, Mr Yanagisawa has been the gracious host to the winners of the Tourism Host of the Year categories of Tourism Awards.

Mr Lincoln Cheng, Chairman & Managing Director, Zouk Management Pte Ltd clinched the Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year award. In an industry known for its volatility, Mr Cheng has created an enduring and instantly recognisable brand among the trend conscious and discerning clubbing fraternities worldwide that has drawn curious visitors to our shores, clamouring for a taste of the Zouk Experience.

For the first time, two New Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year awards were presented in recognition of the increasing number of new entrants in the tourism industry who have made a significant impact on visitors` experiences in Singapore.

The winners were two individuals who have introduced new ideas to the hospitalty sector and in creating a vibrant visual arts scene – Mr Loh Lik Peng, Director, Hotel 1929 Pte Ltd and Ms Helina Chan, Director, iPreciation Pte Ltd. Mr Loh`s innovativeness resulted in the transformation of a shophouse to a hip boutique hotel, which showcases Singapore`s heritage through the hotel`s unique architecture. Under Ms Chan`s leadership, iPreciation has brought several renowned art exhibits to Singapore that helped generate global awareness of Singapore`s visual arts scene.

Four of the winners tonight have won in previous years. Takashimaya Shopping Centre and the Night Safari have clinched the Best Shopping Experience – Shopping Centre category and the Best Leisure Experience award respectively for the sixth time. The Spa Botanica has won the Best Spa Experience for two consecutive years while The Ritz Carlton, Millenia made a comeback this year as the winner for Best Accomodation Experience award, having won twice before.

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