Middle East visitors flocked to Singapore this summer with the Garden City reporting a 30 percent rise in regional travellers who came to experience two stunning new multi-billion dollar Integrated Resorts and a raft of world-class events, such as the exhilarating F1 race and unique Ramadan celebrations.
Latest figures from Singapore Tourism Board (STB) show that 46,559 people travelled from countries in the region to Singapore between July and September this year, up from 35,786 in the third quarter of 2009.
This peak in summer visitors matches a strong growth trend for the whole of 2010 to date, with Singapore chalking up a 25 percent increase in regional visitors during the first nine months of the year. Overall, almost 113,000 people travelled from the region between January and September with most arriving from the UAE. The UAE accounted for 42,549 of Middle East visitors during this first nine months of 2010.
Central to 2010’s strong tourism growth are a wave of new projects that herald a new phase in Singapore’s tourism development. One of the top attractions is South East Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park located on Resorts World Sentosa, which since opening in January has proved a huge hit with families wanting to experience the 24 unique rides, including the world’s only Madagascar attraction.
June witnessed the official opening of the long awaited Marina Bay Sands, which is arguably the jewel of the Marin Bay district. Visitors can enjoy state of the art luxury in its 2,560 hotel rooms and suites, designer shopping centre, state-of-the-art convention centre and six celebrity-chef restaurants.
The resort’s crowning feature is the 340m long Sands SkyPark which sits 60 storeys high and features the world’s largest outdoor infinity swimming pool, offering visitors a spectacular panoramic view of Singapore.
Summer 2010 also saw Singapore host the world’s first Youth Olympic Games that drew athletes and spectators from around the world, while Singapore’s annual F1 night race and Ramadan celebrations continued to entice growing numbers of regional visitors looking for unique and exciting experiences in a welcoming environment.
To help meet the increase in demand from the rise in travellers, new hotels have sprung up including the majestic Fullerton Bay Hotel which sits along Singapore’s historic Clifford Pier and offers stunning views of the Marina Bay. For travellers looking for boutique accommodation, Wanderlust and Klapsons offer travellers stunning design coupled with bespoke personalised service.
“2010 is proving to be a stellar year for Singapore’s tourism industry with visitors from across the Middle East flocking to the Garden City to experience first hand Singapore’s transformation,” said Jason Ong, Area Director for the Middle East and Africa, STB.
“Our new website YourSingapore.com has empowered travellers to plan their holiday itinerary and learn more about our attractions and events before they leave. With glowing coverage from media luminaries such as Martha Stewart, Top Chef USA and CNN, Singapore’s transformation has truly been noticed across the globe. We will continue to ride on this momentum and continue our rejuvenation,” Ong added.
The most prominent attraction due to open in 2011 is the 101-hectare Gardens by the Bay development which involves three distinctive waterfront gardens in the heart of Marina Bay that will define Singapore as the world's premier tropical garden city. Some highlights of the new attractions for 2011 include the opening of the International Cruise Terminal which will seal Singapore’s position as the cruise hub of Asia, the architecturally acclaimed lotus-shaped museum at Marina Bay Sands, the start of a year-long run of the Lion King Musical, new food and beverage restaurants by Joël Robuchon – the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world – and groundbreaking entertainment concepts. A breakdown of STB’s figures for January to September 2010 show visitor arrivals from the UAE rose by 13 percent compared with the same period in 2009, while Saudi Arabia saw numbers up by 12 percent, Qatar experienced a 20 percent rise and Kuwait an impressive 54 percent increase.