In an exclusive interview with India’s media Financial Express, which was published last Thursday (29 Oct), the Regional Director (Middle East & South Asia) of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), GB Srithar, assured that India has grown in importance for Singapore over the last decade.
He revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on Singapore’s tourism industry. International visitor arrivals for the first 6 months this year was 2.7 million, a 66 per cent decline compared to the same period last year.
Srithar shared that as Singapore re-opens its economy, Singapore will continue to engage and guide the tourism industry to implement safe management measures.
He told Financial Express, “India was the 3rd largest source market for Singapore, having crossed the one-millionth mark for visitor arrivals into Singapore for the fifth consecutive year in 2019. We remain confident in the long term prospects of Singapore’s tourism sectors.”
Srithar also added that STB will be looking at two new focus areas for the Indian market – re-establishing the destination’s attractiveness for Overseas School Trips (OST) and positioning Singapore as an international wedding destination.
In fact, last month (Oct), STB India embarked on a webinar to reach out to wedding planners across India and also to share Singapore’s offerings for Indian weddings and celebrations to be held in Singapore. STB wants to establish Singapore as an international wedding destination for Indian weddings and marriages.
“Singapore is fortunate that we have the capacity and resources to manage Covid-19 pandemic in a robust manner and we have made good progress. Majority of the economy has re-opened since Singapore entered the second phase of ‘A Safe Singapore’ in June 2020,” Srithar said.
“Singapore is ranked by independent think tank Deep Knowledge Centre as the 4th safest country in the world for Covid-19. This is a mark of assurance Singapore is doing things right. We are committed to enriching visitor experience to encourage them to spend more time in Singapore.”
While Singapore may be the 4th safest country in the world for COVID-19, India has recorded 45,231 new cases yesterday (2 Nov) with the overall figure surged past 8.2 million since January. More than 120,000 people in India have died from COVID-19.
India is now the world’s second-worst affected country after the United States. Health experts and scientists have warned of a rise in cases as winter sets in and people venture out amid the ongoing Deepavali festival season.
Despite the high number of infected cases in India, India’s Modi government has already reached out to the Singapore government to help establish a travel bubble so as to facilitate a smooth travel among residents between the 2 countries (‘High Commissioner says SG to reach out to Indian officials to establish travel bubble with India‘).
Meanwhile, STB Regional Director Srithar remains positive. He told Finanical Express, “While we eagerly wait to welcome back Indian travellers, we nonetheless celebrate the spirit of India’s rich culture.”
“As a tribute to one of the biggest festivals of India which celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil Singapore’s Little India has lit up for Deepavali festivities as every year,” he added.