World's most expensive city luring KSA tourists
A team of tourism experts from Singapore — one of the four Asian Tigers — is here in the capital to woo Saudis to make the island city its next destination, promising that in the next few months food menus and travel literature in Arabic will also be available at local hotels, restaurants and travel agencies worldwide.
Dining, along with shopping, is said to be the country’s national pastime.
The focus on food has led countries to attract tourists with food-based itineraries. The diversity of food is touted as a reason to visit the country, and the variety of food representing different ethnicity is seen by the government as a symbol of multiculturalism.
According to figures presented by the Singapore Tourism Board to a group of media personnel at a local hotel here on Monday, in which the Singapore Ambassador was also present, some 18,000 Saudis visited the island city last year, and the number is expected to cross the 20,000 mark by the year end.
While emphasizing the country’s rich and multifaceted relationship with Saudi Arabia that has led to greater people-to-people exchanges and visitor arrivals between both countries, Lawrence Anderson, Singapore’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said, “There is also growing awareness of each others culture and history among our peoples. In this respect, I would like to warmly welcome our Saudi friends to visit Singapore. I am confident that they will enjoy the many world-class attractions we have and the diverse culinary delights which reflect our multicultural heritage.”
Singapore, where the second-most practiced religion is Islam, consists of 63 islands, including the main island; some projects involve merging smaller islands through land reclamation to form larger, more functional islands.
The Southern island of Pulau Hantu, known for its rich coral reefs, its football league, the S-League, the Formula One World Championship, and the Grand Prix are some of the attractions available to the Saudis on their visits to the island city.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of Saudi guests over the last few years. They really appreciate our bespoke levels of service and attention to detail – butler service is provided for each and every guest — our respect for guest privacy, and our focus on culinary excellence, said Frank Beck, the Managing Director of The St. Regis Singapore.
The Economist Intelligence Unit in its “Quality-of-Life Index” ranks Singapore as having the best quality of life in Asia and eleventh overall in the world.
With a tropical rainforest climate and no distinctive seasons, the country has uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. Temperatures usually range from 22 to 35 °C (72 to 95 °F). Relative humidity averages around 79 percent in the morning and 73 percent in the afternoon.
April and May are the hottest months, with the wetter monsoon season from November to January.
Known as one of the freest, most innovative, most competitive, and most business-friendly country, the World Bank has named the island city as the easiest place in the world to do business.
It has the world’s highest percentage of millionaires, with one out of every six households having at least one million US dollars in disposable wealth.
In recent years, the country has been identified as an increasingly popular tax haven for the wealthy due to the low tax rate on personal income, a full tax exemption on income that is generated outside of Singapore and legislation that means that capital gains are also tax exempt. Australian millionaire retailer Brett Blundy, with an estimated personal wealth worth AU$835 million, and multi-billionaire Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin are two examples of wealthy individuals who have settled in Singapore (Blundy in 2013 and Saverin in 2012).
To attract more tourists, Singapore is also promoting itself as a medical tourism hub: about 200,000 foreigners seek medical care there each year, and Singapore medical services aim to serve over one million foreign patients annually, according to a report.