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Major changes at Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to drive growth for Singapore`s tourism industry

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has set its sights on strengthening Singapore`s position as a premier business and…

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has set its sights on strengthening Singapore`s position as a premier business and leisure destination and ensuring that the tourism industry remains a significant contributor to Singapore`s economy. Among its long-term goals: to grow visitor arrivals and tourism receipts by 8% per annum.

Mr Lim Neo Chian, STB`s Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said that the STB will focus its attention on creating exciting experiences for visitors in order to bring more of them to Singapore and generate more tourism receipts for Singapore.

The global tourism landscape has changed over the last few years. ASEAN, China and India have emerged as key markets accounting for 47% of total arrivals to Singapore. At the same time, there exist segments, such as healthcare and education services, which Singapore is well positioned to tap and generate growth for its economy. We need to respond quickly to maximise these opportunities.

In view of these changes, the STB has reviewed its strategies and resource allocation with more emphasis placed on growth areas.

To market Singapore overseas, STB`s international operations have been re-structured into seven groups. Apart from its presence in traditional markets such as North Asia, Oceania and the western markets, the STB will commit more resources to ASEAN (which is now divided into two groups), China and India markets. The STB is also exploring possibilities of opening offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. In addition, it will strengthen its presence in India and China.

This extended network of offices will undertake the entire range of tourism functions that will include tourism marketing and investment promotion.

To strengthen Singapore`s appeal as a leisure and business destination, seven Strategic Tourism Units (STUs) that reflect the core purpose of visit have been established. These include Business and MICE, Sightseeing and Attractions, Tourism Shopping, Events, Cruise, Healthcare Services and Education Services.

These STUs are established to rejuvenate core segments such as shopping and sightseeing, grow the cruise, events and business and MICE segments, and develop emerging segments such as healthcare and education services. They will cover a broad range of activities from marketing to industry development.

Our objective is to make Singapore a `must-see, must-visit` destination. With these STUs, we have seven engines of growth that will conceive exciting and innovative experiences that will entice visitors to Singapore, said Mr Lim.

The list of key personnel in STB is provided in Annex A. The new organisation structure will come into effect from 1 February 2003.

For 2003, the STB has projected growth for visitor arrivals and tourism receipts between -1% to +3%.

Last year`s visitor arrivals of 7.57 million visitors represent a marginal increase of 0.6% over 2001. This is within STB`s projections of -1% to +1% growth set at the beginning of last year, and represents the second highest visitor arrival figure for Singapore.

The growth in visitor arrivals was fuelled by the strong performance of key markets in Asia. Indonesia remained the number one visitor generating market posting a 2.1% growth. China and India also posted buoyant growth — 34.7% and 10.5% respectively. Much of this could be attributed to the aggressive marketing embarked by STB in these markets to counter the decline in traditional markets such as Japan, Australia and Europe.

Mr Lim said: We are happy that the visitor arrivals are within our expectations and is comparable to 2001. This demonstrates the resilience of the tourism industry here and the confidence visitors have in Singapore as a compelling destination.

However, I`m a little disappointed that tourism receipts have not risen in tandem with arrival figures. Our flash estimates for 2002 indicate that tourism receipts declined by about 5 per cent to S$9.0 billion.

He added, That`s why the Board has much work ahead. There is a greater sense of urgency about what we need to do next to boost tourism`s contribution to the national economy. But I am sure our team at the Board will more than rise to the occasion.

Going forward, the STB will continue to engage industry members and other agencies to seek their input and ideas. We have always enjoyed a strong partnership with them. Of course, Singaporeans too have a vital role to play because as individuals, we can make a difference to a visitor`s experience. Together we can achieve a better future for the tourism sector and Singapore`s economy, concluded Mr Lim.


Senior Director, International Operations – Mr Charles Leong

A thirty-year veteran in the travel and tourism industry, Mr. Leong has lived and worked in Switzerland, Bahrain, Holland, Hawaii and California. He has held management positions in Singapore Airlines for over nineteen years, spent four years as general manager in tour operations in Singapore and the USA, and headed the Americas operations of the Singapore Tourism Board for ten years. He returned to Singapore in October 1999 to head the Board`s Tourism Business group that comprises three divisions, namely Industry Development (Lifestyle), Regional Tourism and Manpower Development.

Regional Director, ASEAN (Islands) – Mr Aloysius Arlando

Mr Arlando has been in the Board for ten years, including a two-and-a half year secondment to the Ministry of Manpower. He began in STB`s Administrative Services department before becoming a Manager for Regional Tourism (SEA & Oceania) responsible for regional tourism initiatives and investment facilitation. In 1998, he was seconded to the Manpower Ministry where he served as Senior Assistant Divisional Director responsible for the promotion of lifelong learning and workforce development programmes. In 2001, he was made consultant to the Ministry`s Singapore Learning Promotion outfit while he assumed the position of Regional Director South East Asia responsible for the marketing of Singapore to ASEAN markets.

Regional Director, ASEAN (Mainland) – Mr Lee Loong Koon

Mr Lee joined the Board in 1988 as Director – Services. In 1989, he was appointed as Director for a newly set up Cruise Business Division with the responsibilities for promoting international leisure cruising business in Singapore and the region. In 1998, Mr Lee assumed additional responsibilities as Director- Special Duties, in charge of Singapore`s participation in Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany. He was appointed Director-Asia Division with the responsibility of marketing Singapore in Asia, Middle East and South Africa. In Oct 1999, Mr Lee became Director Exhibition and Convention besides holding the Director Cruises title. His most recent appointment was Area Director (ASEAN & South Asia) and Director Cruise Marketing.

Regional Director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa – Ms Chee Lay Hong

Ms Chee began her career with the Board in 1981. Among the key appointments she has held, she was Assistant Regional Director (Hong Kong), Assistant Director (Marketing) and Area Director, Asia. Her most recent appointment was Director, Lifestyle. Prior to STB, Ms Chee worked in the Inland Revenue Department and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Ms Chee is also concurrently covering as Director, Brand Management.

Regional Director, North Asia – Ms Elsie Chia-Ozaku

Ms Chia-Ozaku has been with Board for 21 years. She began her career in the Administrative Service (Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Communications). She joined the Board in 1981 as a Senior Officer, and subsequently completed a stint as an assistant director in the Public Relations department. In 1985, she assumed the role of Assistant Regional Director, Japan before taking on the full directorship in 1990. In 2001, she became responsible for STB`s marketing and promotional activities in Korea as well when she became Area Director, Japan and Korea.

Regional Director, Greater China – Mr Chui Seng Wah

Mr Chui joined the Board in 1972. His previous positions in the Board include Area Director, Oceania, (responsible for Australia, NZ and South-West Pacific) and Regional Director Asia and subsequently East Asia, and Assistant Director, Tourism Services. Mr Chui also served as Deputy General Manager at the Sentosa Development Corporation and had worked in the hospitality business overseas such as Hawaii, Europe, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia.

Regional Director, Western Markets – Mr Chew Min Seng

Mr Chew joined the Board in 1987. His previous responsibilities include managing the Board`s office in Chicago, U.S.A. and then subsequently its office in Toronto, Canada.

In 1996, he assumed the role of Regional Director for South East and South Asia and Africa. In 1999, Mr Chew returned to the United States to manage STB`s Americas operation as the Senior Vice President overseeing the organization`s regional offices in the Americas. There he initiated the industry`s first government-to-business web partnership program as well as the award-winning Online Singapore Tourism Specialist Program for the North American travel agents.

Regional Director, Oceania – Mr Kevin Leong

Mr Leong`s career with the STB began in 1976 and since then, he has assumed various key appointments including Vice President – Eastern USA, and Director Conventions. In 1999, Mr Leong took on the position of Director of Events Marketing where he was instrumental in promoting and developing Singapore as an `eventful city`. Mr Kevin Leong was appointed Area Director-Oceania for the Board in March 2002.

Strategic Tourism Units

Director, Business & MICE – Mr Gerald Lee

Mr Lee has been with the Board for 11 years. He has worked in the Planning and Convention departments, and in 1996, was posted to Toronto as Vice-President, Canada. In 1998, his responsibility expanded to also include Central USA. Upon his return to Singapore in 2000, he was seconded to the Ministry of Trade and Industry for two years before returning to the Board to head the Planning division, a position he concurrently covers. Mr Lee is also concurrently holding the position of Director, Strategic Development in Sentosa Development Corporation.

Director, Education Services – Ms Magdalene Lee

Ms Lee has been with the Board for 20 years and assumed a broad range of key appointments. Among these was a posting to Sydney as Assistant Regional Director, Australia in 1985. She was appointed General Manager in 1990 when she set up the Board`s Perth office. Her most recent position was as Director of Destination Marketing which oversaw the functions of Strategic Marketing, e-Marketing, Marketing Services and International Marketing. In 2001 the post of Area Director for Europe was also added to her portfolio.

Programme Director, Healthcare Services – Dr Chan Tat Hon

A medical doctor by training, Dr Chan spent five years in Singapore`s Economic Development Board with the last three as the Centre Director of EDB`s London office. He returned in September 2002 to head Healthcare Services in EDB`s Biomedical Sciences Group. Since December 2002, he was appointed to the concurrent portfolio of Programme Director, Healthcare Services in STB.

Director, Sightseeing & Attractions – Mr Dayne Lim

Mr Lim joined the Board as Assistant Marketing Manager ASEAN in 1995. In 1997, he was appointed Country Manager Indonesia for two years and then was subsequently posted to UK as Marketing Manager (UK& Nordic Countries). He returned to Singapore in 2002 to take up his position as Assistant Director, Strategic Marketing, where he overseas trends analysis, brand development and advertising and segment marketing.

Director, Tourism Shopping – Mr Edmund Chua (covering)

Mr Chua has been with the Board for 12 years. He worked in the Special Projects department initially and has since been involved in large-scale infrastructure projects such as the enhancements to Chinatown, Merlion Park and the Singapore River district. He was appointed to his most recent appointment as Deputy Director, Thematic Development in 2000.

Director, Events – Ms Christine Khor

Ms Khor began her career as Editor and Head of the Publications unit at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) before joining the Straits Times as a leader and feature writer. She moved to Singapore`s Economic Development Board as Senior Officer (Creative Services) in 1990, where she pioneered the development of the arts industry. In 1995, she was seconded to, and later accepted direct appointment with STB. Her most recent appointment was Deputy Director, Lifestyle, responsible for Arts and Entertainment, Food and Beverage and Tourism Retail.

Director, Cruise – Mr Oliver Chong

Mr Chong started his career at the Board in 1993. His tour of duty included appointments in the Events and Corporate Development departments. From 1996 to 1999, he was based in London as the Assistant, then Deputy Regional Director, UK. Responsible for the Scandinavian markets, Mr Chong was also in charge of UK/Irish trade and consumer markets. In 1999, he returned to head the department in Events Marketing which was responsible for the developing and marketing of sports, arts and cultural events.

Corporate Development and Sector Development

Senior Director, Special Projects & STB Consultancy – Mrs Pamelia Lee

Mrs Lee joined the Board in 1978 as Assistant Director of Marketing & Regional Offices. Six years later, she spearheaded the Product Development.

Division, serving as chief coordinator behind the $1 Billion Tourism Product Development Plan which led to the conservation of cultural and historical sites such as Raffles Hotel, Alkaff Mansion, the Civic District, Singapore River and Chinatown. Presently, Mrs Lee heads the Special Projects Division & STB Consultancy, overseeing the development of Hua Song, a new centre featuring the Overseas Chinese Diaspora story and the revitalization of Haw Par Villa. Concurrently she also holds the key appointment of Managing Director, Southern Islands Development, a S$280 million investment that will transform a cluster of islands into a lifestyle resort development.

Director, Resource Development – Mr Lim Chwee Seng

Mr Lim worked with the Ministry of Law and Economic Development Board before joining STB in 1995. He held the key appointment of Director, Lifestyle and in 2002, assumed the role of Director, Events Marketing.

Chief Financial Officer – Mr Yong Yean Chau

Mr Yong was the Chief Financial Officer of Ascendas Pte Ltd, before joining the Board, where the company has recently launched the second Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in SGX mainboard. Before that, he was in various organisations such as Arthur Andersen, Housing Development Board, China-Singapore Suzhou Development Ltd and Singapore-Suzhou Township Development Pte Ltd. He was appointed to his current position late last year.

Director, Human Resources and Organisational Change – Ms Shirley Quek

Ms Quek joined the Board in October last year as consultant to support the transformation change efforts in STB. Prior to this, she headed the Human Resources department in Jurong Town Corporation and was involved in a number of similar projects. She has also served as consultant for the Organization Change and Learning Support Centre.

Director, Service Quality – Ms Margaret Teo

Ms Teo has been with the Board for 12 years. Her previous positions include Assistant Director, Events Marketing and Manager, Corporate Communications. Ms Teo also headed the Creative Action Team for MillenniaMania – Singapore`s millennium countdown party. In 2002, she was appointed Deputy Director, Marketing Services. She is concurrently covering as Director, Corporate Communications.

Director, International Relations – Mrs Chia-Lim Kay Keng

Mrs Chia began her career at the Board in 1974 as a Facilitation Officer. She was posted to the United Kingdom as Assistant Regional Director in 1979 and since then has assumed Divisional Director appointments in Conventions, Administration and Organisational Management.

Chief Auditor – Mr Soh Peck Lin

Mr Soh joined the Board in 1991. Prior to his current appointment, Mr Soh served as Assistant Director, Finance and Assistant Director, Corporate Audit Services in the Board. Mr Soh is a CPA (Singapore) and a member of the IIA and ISACA. Prior to joining the Board, Mr Soh had years of extensive auditing, financial & accounting experience in both the professional auditing field and the banking and financial industry.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.