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Singapore expects historical high 2006 visitor arrivals

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is set to achieve another historical high for annual visitor arrivals and reach its target of 9.4 million visitors for the year. Visitor Arrival figures for the first half of the year…

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is set to achieve another historical high for annual visitor arrivals and reach its target of 9.4 million visitors for the year. Visitor Arrival figures for the first half of the year  reached 4.7 million, an 11.8% growth over the same period last year.

UK visitor arrival figures for the first nine months of 2006 stood at 354,000 – beating last year’s record with year-on-year growth of 1.8% over 2005. For the whole of Europe, the figure stands at 884,000, a year-on-year increase of 6.4%. If the markets continue to perform well, Singapore will achieve record high visitor arrivals from both the UK and Europe in 2006.

Kevin Leong, Senior Director, Special Projects, STB said: “Singapore has always been known as a destination that does not sit still. As a recent article in the travel section of London’s Evening Standard said, “Singa-bore is no more”. This year alone we have seen the opening of unique designer boutique hotels, amazing garden spas and well-being facilities, acclaimed designer restaurants and 24-hour bars and clubs, as well as the new Budget and Luxury terminals at Changi Airport.”

Unprecedented in scale, Singapore’s new and upcoming large-scale investments will help it to realise its tourism potential. Each will be critical in helping the nation to reach its aggressive Tourism 2015 tourism receipts target of £10 million (S$30 million).

Downtown at Marina Bay is the name of Singapore’s next focal point for development, employment and tourism, and a new exciting area for Singapore’s entrepreneurs and international businesses. The city-state envisages this scenic piece of land being transformed into a dynamic waterfront Garden City by the Bay, featuring a strong MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) cluster of convention and exhibition spaces, backed by thousands of hotel rooms within easy walking distance. With this new development, Singapore will create a distinct business and financial area across from the existing Central Business District, made all the more unique for its seamless access to new leisure facilities, such as the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort and the Singapore Flyer which will be complete by 2008.

As a major development that incorporates MICE facilities, leisure, retail, dining, lifestyle and gaming components, the Marina Bay Sands represents a major transformational project that will change the Singapore tourism landscape. It is expected to generate an additional £0.9 billion (S$2.7 billion) to Singapore’s annual Gross Domestic Product and create 30,000 additional jobs throughout the economy by 2015.

Featuring breathtaking views of the Singapore skyline, waterfront and the one-of-a-kind Esplanade, and with easy train access to the city, Marina Bay will be developed into a multi-purpose destination and major gathering point in the city.

Sentosa Harbourfront is another area that will be transformed into a new world-class waterfront business and lifestyle hub in southern Singapore. Existing leisure attractions, like The Jewel Box, will be complemented by upcoming entertainment venues like St. James Power Station – a multi-concept entertainment hub housed in a heritage building, and Vivocity – Singapore’s largest retail and lifestyle mall, which opened last month. Designed by world-renowned architect, Toyo Ito, Vivocity has over 1 million square feet of lettable floor space featuring iconic structures along the 300m waterfront promenade for F&B with alfresco dining and outdoor spaces for staging world class events.

Across the harbour, the Sentosa Island aims to position itself as a premier leisure and family resort destination. Singapore’s second Integrated Resort will also be located on Sentosa, and the successful proposer is expected to be announced by the end of the year, with the project expected to be completed in 3 to 4 years from the time of award. Complementing the attractions and facilities on Sentosa is the core residential development known as Sentosa Cove, the development of an IR, and the joining of the Southern Islands to form a new “critical mass” island destination.

Divya Panickar, Area Director, Northern and Western Europe said: “We have been talking to companies in the UK and Europe about investment opportunities. With our excellent infrastructure, connectivity and central location, Singapore is a natural test-bed for companies wanting to grow and to tap the rapid tourism development in Asia. We welcome discussions with tour operators and companies wishing to find out more about Singapore’s plan. The knowledge will enable the former to creatively package a confluence of old and new experiences unique to Singapore, and bring them to the clients.”

At the Show, the Singapore Tourism Board will be joined by 34 other Singapore partners including hotel and tour operators. Visitors to the stand can also view the impressive 1.5 metre x 1.5 metre architect’s model of the newly announced £1.7 billion (S$5b) Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, giving them a glimpse of Singapore’s future landscape.

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