Singapore Tourism Board (STB) today introduces new initiatives aimed at addressing increased competition in a complex tourism landscape in Malaysia. By sharpening its outreach to Business Travellers and Families with young children – key travel segments for Singapore – the vision is to grow Singapore into a choice destination for Malaysian families and providing more value to business travellers.
“In today’s fast-changing tourism and consumer landscape, we cannot stay still. Consumers are increasingly distracted and demanding, and there is more competition from the region vying for their attention,” says Edward Koh, Executive Director of Southeast Asia, Singapore Tourism Board. “Our focus for Malaysia for the next two years is to strengthen our activities in what we see as bright spots within our visitor segments.”
Over 1.17 million Malaysians visited Singapore last year, averaging a moderate growth of 2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) since 2010. Of the total visitor arrivals in 2015, 33% of Malaysians are Business Travellers and 44% consists of Leisure Travellers. Malaysia is one ofin the Top 5 source markets for visitors to Singapore.
Incentive schemes to assist local travel players better serve the BTMICE segment
Singapore welcomed over 380,000 Malaysian business travellers in 2015. These visitors contribute 42% of the total tourism receipts and spend 1.5X more per visitor as compared to the leisure travellers.
There are over 1,000 MICE events taking place annually or bi-annually in Singapore. Malaysia is consistently the top source market for many of these events, particularly in the lifestyle event cluster (such as Food & Hotel Asia and ProWine Asia), the digital content event cluster (such as Communic & BroadcastAsia), and the design event cluster (such as International Furniture Fair Singapore). While the Conference and Events sector provide a steady source of visitors, the Meetings and Incentives sector is where STB is targeting growth. STB’s survey of Malaysian business travellers have indicated that the attractiveness of Singapore as a meeting and incentive destination is in its infrastructure and ease of access; its relative safety within the region, and the wide variety of experiences including unique offerings for group travel.
In growing the Meetings and Incentives segment, STB is committed to partner with travel intermediaries in Malaysia to closely build and support growth opportunities within the sector. The partnership will be supported by incentive schemes, information toolkit and planning resources that will assist travel intermediaries to add value to their clientele, and provide in-depth knowledge on planning and customising unique experiences.
The incentive schemes will target two main areas: the travel intermediaries, and the end-clientele. Targeted at the travel intermediaries, the M&I-STARS incentive scheme supports and funds resources needed for travel intermediaries to improve planning and advisory capabilities in executing travel plans for meetings and incentives groups. Schemes available for corporate companies will include Business Events in Singapore (BEiS), which aims to encourage corporate meetings and incentive trips to be held in Singapore, providing grants for the companies who organises these corporate events. Separately, the M&I-Rewards scheme will benefit the corporate group travel through value-added experiences to enhance their itineraries, such as complimentary business learning tours, such as Marina Barrage Guided Tours, and complimentary Singapore experience, such as a visit to the new National Gallery Singapore.
Singapore to tap into one of the largest source market for Family Travel in Asia Pacific
Globally, family travel is a growing segment. In Asia Pacific, an estimated 44 million people travel on family holidays and spend US$29 billion every year (Turner Media Solutions, 2012). Key source markets with high proportions of the family segment amongst its total leisure outbound travellers include India, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand (Euromonitor International, 2014).
In 2015, Singapore welcomed more than 90,000 children below the age of 14 from Malaysia, representing close to 8% of the total Malaysia visitor arrivals into Singapore. While growth has been strong, Singapore aims to further realise the potential of this family travel segment. STB’s research in Malaysia from 2014 to 2015 also indicated that 60% of respondents travel 2-3 times per year with their children, primarily as a way to spend time and bond together as a family, as well as to expose their children to new learning and enrichment opportunities beyond the classroom environment.
To capture this segment, STB will launch the SingaporeJunior initiative specifically to reach out to families with young children. SingaporeJunior will kick-off with a series of programmes aiming to showcase opportunities for enrichment and learning in Singapore, and highlight unique experiences designed specifically for children.
The SingaporeJunior initiative features a 7-episode web series hosted by kids to reach out to parents with young children and a pre-school learning programme being piloted to 50 pre-schools across Peninsular and East Malaysia in 2016.
STB is also partnering with travel intermediaries and experience providers to improve the availability and affordability of these family-friendly experiences to the Malaysia audience. Families with an interest to travel can learn more about these experiences directly from the experience providers at the Singapore Pavilion in the upcoming MATTA Fair in September 2016.
“The future success of destination Singapore greatly depends on how we can step up to these challenges and turn them into opportunities to better serve the needs of our target segments. These initiatives aimed at the Business Travel and Family Travel segments are our response to the challenges and will position us for the long term growth,” Edward added.