Middle East travellers have given their resounding approval to the new ‘YourSingapore’ web portal, calling it an evolution in travel planning that “ticks all the right boxes” for tech-savvy travellers looking for a personalised travel experience.
The website was launched last month as part of a brand evolution by Singapore Tourism Board (STB), from ‘Uniquely Singapore’ to ‘YourSingapore’, in response to the digital revolution in travel planning and growing demand for more individualised travel.
www.yoursingapore.com offers potential travellers a virtual tour of the island nation through spectacular multi-media content, and connects them with local residents and previous visitors through virtual communities and real time blogs.
Visitors can create their own itineraries on an interactive map that highlights other key interests and facilities along the way, as well as allowing users to book accommodation, activities, and flights, before making their trip a reality.
To gauge the region’s initial response to the website, STB carried out a straw-poll of UAE-based professionals and found an overwhelmingly positive response to the site’s content and usability, which responders said inspired them to visit Singapore.
Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, a Lebanese national who is CEO of Flip Media, the largest interactive agency in the Middle East, said: “I really like the home page – it’s a great way to draw the user in and a chance to showcase dozens of things in a non-linear fashion. I love the fact that I can plan my trip all by myself, as that’s exactly how I prefer to plan my own holidays. The website’s excellent presentation of what’s on offer in Singapore has definitely made me more inclined to visit.”
Emirati Ahmed bin Shabib, founder of Brown Book Publishing, said: “The website looks amazing, as with everything that Singapore is working on. I am particularly fond of the fact that as a visitor you have all the activities in one place. I like the fact as well that when you click on a particular interest the second page gives you other things you can do around that location.”
James Magee, a UK expatriate who is Co-Director of GEM Events, a UAE-wide events company, added: “The home page is alive, colourful and appealing. I like the way they have created shop windows for the various sections as opposed to the boring navigation that other sites have. It is very easy to navigate and welcoming and ticks all the right boxes in travel planning and booking.”
“The multi-media content shows Singapore has a clear understanding that this is what people are looking for these days. People don’t want to flick through magazines and they have little time to flick through thousands of TV channels. Online research and booking is the future, the next generation would not dream of going to find a travel agency. I had not thought about Singapore as a destination for a while, but looking around the site I’m certainly considering heading over for this year’s F1 Grand Prix.”
Kiran Wadhwani, an American expatriate who is a make-up artist in Abu Dhabi and mother of two, commented: “The webpage has an appealing aesthetic and is incredibly easy to use. The photos make it simple to find what you are looking for, and also offer great ideas for different places to visit in the country. I think that many people already book and plan their holidays online, but websites such as yoursingapore.com assure me that this is the future of personal travel. There’s a lot to be said for the ease of being able to plan a holiday in your own home and in your own time, as opposed to visiting a ticketing office in person.”
“The website also offers essential information such as location, timings, and prices. It also has information pertaining to every kind of traveller, from the vacationer who wants a relaxing visit with time in spas and museums, to the adventurer who wants to hike through the nature reserves,” she added.
Last year Singapore saw a 2.7 percent increase in visitors from the Middle East, with a total of 117,000 visitors arrivals from the region. STB is predicting record tourism numbers for 2010, forecasting total annual visitor arrivals to hit between 11.5 million and 12.5 million by the end of the year – up from 9.7 million in 2009.
The ‘YourSingapore’ website and brand will be showcased at this year’s Arabian Travel Market being held between 4-7 May at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
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