Now in its thirteenth year, the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) continues to draw increasing numbers of visitors from the Middle East, according to senior Singapore tourism chiefs.
Running up until 23 July, the event sees malls, shopping centres and shopping districts offer huge discounts – some as much as 70 per cent – on a variety of goods including fashion, electronics, jewellery, watches, gifts and household items.
“Our strategy this year is to offer visitors as wide a range of discounts as possible across Singapore. We are extending our highly popular late night shopping and running a range of promotions and exciting offers, so that visitors can shop to their hearts’ content,” said Alan Tan, Area Director – Singapore Tourism Board, Middle East and Africa.
“This approach has proved very popular in the region, with flights to Singapore rapidly selling out across the summer high season,” added Tan.
In addition to the downtown stores and malls that have since become regular participants of the GSS, this year’s Sale will see heartland participation hitting a record high with a total of 30 neighbourhood centres taking part.
Hundreds of shops in town centres and shopping malls will be offering discounts on a wide array of products and services.
Another event highlight is the Singapore Showcase, which will feature the latest range of Uniquely Singapore lifestyle products and collectibles from the island’s premier gift shops.
Ideal as gifts and souvenirs, brand-new products to be launched at this year’s Great Singapore Sale include the Peranakan porcelain collection from Museum Shop by Banyan Tree, hand painted Opera face tote bags from Homespun, a collection of gifts inspired by famous Singapore artists from Art Ferris, and a Singapore collection of trendy fashion accessories from Perlini’s Silver.
Shopping is a key component of Singapore’s tourism industry and is already one of the main reasons visitors from the Middle East travel to Singapore.
According to Tan, overall tourism expenditure for shopping alone amounts to over S$3 billion annually, with approximately one-fifth, or S$650 million, spent during the Great Singapore Sale in 2005. Middle East tourists contribute a significant proportion of this expenditure.
“We’ve introduced a lot of innovations to make Singapore an ideal summer stopover for Middle East tourists,” said Tan. “There are a range of special packages for travellers from this part of the world, in addition to a fantastic range of hotels and services upon arrival.”
“This year’s GSS 2006 has even seen a shopping ‘delegation’ sent from the UAE to take part in the Great Singapore Shopping Challenge, one of our keystone events,” said Tan.
Tourism shopping will continue to bolster Singapore’s Tourism 2015 vision, which is targeting over 17 million visitor arrivals and S$30 billion in tourism receipts, over the next decade.