Singapore Government attaches great importance to the development of tourism, the tourism industry as unlimited resources. As early as 1964, Singapore set up a Tourism Promotion Board currently known as Singapore Tourism Board, to lead and promote the development of tourism in Singapore and to promote Singapore as an international tourist destination. The Singapore Tourism Board cooperation with relevant departments and make full use of favourable conditions for their great efforts to develop tourism. Currently, tourism has become one of a major engine economic growth in Singapore.
Singapore which was currently known as “Singapura” which “Lion City” has created a various tourism development in the past years. Singapore’s cultural and heritage tourism shows it is still very active in the old traditions. From the past, under the title to one of these ethnic minorities: Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Arab Street and Little India. First, you can enjoy Chinese antiques, traditional clothing, or Chinatown, calligraphy, and then there is a variety of spices in Little India to buy a loved one taste and a sari or some jewellery. Finally, get to Kampong Glam and Arab Street for bazaar-style shopping, and received the fine from Indonesia and Malaysia, hand-made batik.
Recent and upcoming attractions
Merlion Park, one of the famous tourist spots, is well known for its rich history. Many tourists are attracted to visit the Merlion Park. September 2008, Singapore hosted the annual F1 SingTel Singapore F1 Grand Prix marked the milestone in the history: it is the first street race in Asia, and the first night race in the world. Two long-awaited development of the entertainment is: Marina Bay Sands integrated resort (a world-class luxury resort hotel and conference facilities and high-end restaurants casino) and Resorts World, Sentosa, will house the first Universal Studios theme in Southeast Asia Park, the world’s largest marine life park, six hotels. This year, 2010, people are looking forward to the Gulf, including three Marina Bay Promenade gardens. To the garden to greet visitors to a super surprise and they will be dwarfed over the tree – the tree, measures up to 16 layers high. This lush looking the Bay Area will support is ‘in a garden’ dream city of Singapore.
(b) ROLES PLAYED BY SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT
Singapore is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia-Pacific region. Tourism industry is strengthening by the infrastructure developments, various events and the countries strategic location in the heart of region. Hence, the government has set up Singapore Tourism Board which has played a very significant role in assisting Singapore’s tourism industry to boom with success. The government sector played many roles and the 3 most significant roles are being the planner, promoter and developer.
Singapore government set up the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to assists in the planning of every event being held, publications, developments and all the services needed on Singapore’s tourism industry. STB’s includes divisions of Manpower Development, Resource Development, Service Quality, Strategic Planning and Corporate Planning, under the Sector and Development Group, shape the long-term development of the tourism sector and enhance the role of being a planner of the tourism industry. Singapore government has planned many events to attract more tourist into Singapore and the co-ordination of these events have to go through serious planning to be able to be successfully held in Singapore. Due to the limited size of Singapore, the accommodation is limited to cater for a large number of tourists coming in. Singapore has taken part in major events like Formula 1, Chingay and many more. The upcoming event would be the youth Olympics. STB has to plan according to the peak and off-peak of their tourism period in order to have enough accommodation to accommodate for the number of tourists. In addition, the dates must go through planning to make sure it does not clash with other major events. As Singapore is considered small to host a major event, the availability of event venues is limited. Therefore, STB comes in place to take charge of these plans to ensure the possibility of Singapore being the host countries of these events. Hence, the Singapore government plays as a role of a planner and assists in the development of Singapore’s tourism industry.
After the process of planning, the government also plays a role in continuing with the plans and becomes a developer for Singapore’s tourism industry. Singapore government has done their part as a developer for its tourism industry by investing in basic infrastructure such as roads, sewage, bridges and many varieties of transportation. In addition, developing Singapore’s environment into a clean and fine city also improves the development of the tourism industry. Singapore government has used road tax to constantly upgrade the roads, invested in sewages and also building sufficient overhead bridges to ensure the safety environment. This has helped to in the tourism industry as tourist would have a good image of Singapore during their travel. Transportation is also a key factor for convenience of tourist that visits Singapore. The government has also invested in the train systems with clear signboards with multiple languages for tourist to have an easy way out to travel on their own around Singapore. In addition, buying tickets has also been made convenient by investing in automated machines to buy standard cards which can be refunded for cash after their trip. The machines have 4 different kind of language so that more tourists are able to understand the usage of the machine. Signboards are also made with clear illustrations of the locations of each stop of location to prevent tourist from getting lost. Also, road signs and directional signs are also in 4 languages at the airport and tourists spots to assist in their desired pathway. Singapore government has contributed generously in being the developer of Singapore and this has left many tourists with great impression while travelling in Singapore. These developments has ensured the comfort of tourist and made everything easy for them. This being compared to many countries like Japan or Europe, has out-shined them as only in the cities tourist are able to travel freely on their own but when they are out of the city, language and finding for directions has always become a worry for tourist to go on free and easy trips.
Singapore Tourism Board which is a sector of the government’s contributions to Singapore’s tourism industry and it includes the responsibilities of the publicity and promoting tourism for potential tourist to attract them into travelling to Singapore. Government provides funding for tourism marketing campaigns. For example, STB organized an annual event – Great Singapore Sale, it is to promote tourism in Singapore. The government has also invested in promoting Singapore tourism in advertisements and gaining more opportunities on major events so that more tourists will be attracted to travel to Singapore. STB also changed its branding from “Uniquely Singapore” to “Your Singapore”, which will captivate more people to explore Singapore in a deeper sense.
Various Impacts of Tourism in Singapore
Positive Economic Impacts
Creation of Job Opportunities with the opening of Integrated Resorts
As Singapore continues to aim to be the Leading Convention and Exhibition City in Asia, the country needs With the newest Integrated Resorts built, the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, there will be an over flowing opportunities for job employment may it be seasonal or permanent jobs. Singaporeans as well as foreigners are looking forward to have a wonderful experience working in these integrated resorts. “I think it helps us all. It makes everything smoother, more efficient and as I said, at the end of the day, the objective is to hire Singaporeans – Singapore jobs for Singaporeans. And I think we all clearly have that ambition in mind” (Roberts, 2010)
Increase in Tourism Receipts
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), set out an ambitious amount of S$30 billion tourism receipts by 2015, which is triple increase from the amount last 2004, which is S$10 billion, not only that, and doubling the visitors arrival to 17 million with the help of S$2 billion Tourism Development Fund. (STB, 2010)
Table A: 2015 Targets
Tourism Receipts (S$ billions)
Visitors Arrivals (million)
(Singapore Tourism Board, 2010)
Negative Economic Impacts
Singapore has no natural resources therefore relying on imported goods and service which leads to leakage of revenue.
Singapore is a small developing country with no natural resources therefore relying on imported goods and service which leads to leakage of revenue. These leakages of revenue will lead to the inaccuracy measurement of the economic impact of tourism that is affected by tourism expenditure. (TMC School of Business, 2010)
Due to the lack of expertise and lack manpower, Singapore hires foreign workers which also cause economic leakage as they send money back to their home country.
Competition with other sectors in the destination
Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands are the two newly-built integrated resorts in Singapore. They are both competing for who is the best, not only with their casinos, but also with the facilities and infrastructure. Mr. Lim says that “Marina Bay Sands is more to convention area whereas Resorts World got support which is the Universal Studios, and besides Universal Studios, there’s a lot more places to explore in Sentosa.” (Lim, 2010)
Positive Socio-cultural Impacts
Promoting and developing cultural relations and international cooperation
Through socialising and interacting with different kinds of people, Cross-cultural and Intercultural communication is being developed. It enhances the skills of the local residents to communicate to different types of tourist and how to handle situations relating to self-expression.
Preserving culture and heritage
Preservation of historical places and monuments, like the Merlion Park at the Marina Bay, Chinatown, Clarke Quay, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Fort Siloso and many other places which shapes Singapore as a place with full of history and culture. (Dutta, 2008)
Negative Socio-cultural Impacts
Creation of Social Problems
There’s an overwhelming response from people since the opening of IRs. A lot of foreigners roll over to casinos during their free time. Whereas, local residents seems so relaxed in entering casinos without knowing there are eyes on them, which are related in these situations:
Loo Siew Wan, a 53-year taxi driver, managed to enter RWS, but was arrested because of impersonation by stealing his brother’s driving licence, theft, and giving false details to the police. (© Inter Press Service, 2010)
Loss of authenticity of culture and traditions
This is illustrated by demonstration effect which results adaptation to foreign influences and westernization. It is like following the dressing styles and lifestyle of the tourists or foreigners staying in the host country. “The demonstration effect is seen as a corruptor of values in places that have strong cultural influence and strict social norms.” (Winter, 2008) Example: A temple in Chinatown called Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, we know it’s a sacred place for worshipping, but then, nowadays, it became a tourist attraction. Some may see it as disrespect for the place, but most people will not care anymore.
Positive Environmental Impacts
Singapore has earned the name of Garden City after decades of planning and cultivation. (MND.gov, 2010) There are more development of such gardens coming up like Gardens by the bay, a Singapore waterfront gardens at Marina Bay and the creation of Sky Park at the top of Marina Bay Sands. These places including our current nature reserves would be a major attraction for tourists as tourists like to visit places that are attractive, clean and not polluted. Therefore, more flora and fauna are planted to improve the landscape of Singapore.
The creation of SembCorp NEWater plant- one of the world’s largest water recycling facilities
We all know that Singapore doesn’t have enough natural resources unlike the neighbourhood countries, Indonesia and Malaysia. But with the opening of the fifth and biggest SembCorp NEWater plant, last May 3, 2010 in conjunction with PUB, there will be enough sustainability of 30% safe water supply for the Singapore’s total demand. NEWater will provide 50 million imperial gallons or 228, 000 cubic metres of NEWater per day. (SG Press Centre, 2010) It means in every hotel, or any accommodation places, restaurants, cruise ships, there will be an enough supply not only for the local residents, but for the guests or tourists who will be staying in Singapore.
Building of Infrastructures
As tourism plays a significant role in Singapore’s economy our government will spend on improving infrastructure and transportation to help visitors to have an easier accessibility. On 31 March 2010, Land Transport Authority, LTA has been honoured “The Best in Land Transport”. (LTA, 2010) Singapore government has also invested more money in the tourism industry to attract more foreign tourists. In my research and observation of Singapore in recent years, some of the tourism development programmes are:
The world’s largest observation wheel, The Singapore Flyer in 2008
The Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2008
Development of sports industry
Creating of Singapore Sports Hub at Kallang.
Building of Integrated Resorts like Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands
Negative Environmental Impacts
Pollution and Littering
With a target of 17 million visitors coming to Singapore in 2015, (STB, 2010) there is a high chance of more air pollution from all the carbon emissions from planes and land transport. Littering would be more as well, as people will have the mindset of “This is not my country” and will tend to do whatever they want, including of spitting.
Depletion of Water Resources
Wasting of water resources in the hotel like having bathtub, laundry services and housekeeping services like frequently change of towels and bed linen will contribute to shortage of water in the future. “The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) notes that 1.2 billion people, almost 20 percent of the Earth’s population, are experiencing water scarcity.” (Black, 2008)
SUSTAINABLE SINGAPORE: A LIVELY and LIVEABLE CITY
Singapore government has imposed three ways on how to develop sustainable tourism:
Efficient way – since Singapore has less resources, we will maximize all the resources we have and with less waste.
Clean way – developing, without harming and polluting the environment.
Green way – preserving energy, water resources, and natural heritage with the help of ecotourism
(Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, 2010)
STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN SINGAPORE
Promote a more sustainable lifestyle. Reduce water consumption, use water efficient devices and water conservation. Like in hotels, reduce the usage of towels or bed sheets. Guests can inform housekeepers that we don’t want to change our towels; in that case, we will be helping to conserve water.
Promote Resource-Efficient Buildings. Building SkyRise Greenery. Like planting trees and plants on the rooftop of buildings or hotel.
Enhance public cleanliness. As tourists know that Singapore is a “Fine City” there will have this thinking not to litter around. But sometimes, some tourists will not follow if they see that local residents don’t care.
Promote Ecotourism. Singapore has variety of national parks and wildlife reserves. Parks, like Zoological Gardens and Botanic Gardens, Pulau Ubin and Bukit Timah Reserves. Encourage nature loving tourists to appreciate the beauty of nature. To explore different adventurous activities like nature walks or hiking.
(National Parks Board, Singapore, 2009)
Singapore is developing and will still continue to develop in the next few years. Decades ago, there were many concept plans made that changed the whole image of Singapore. These concept plans have slowly cultivated Singapore as to what it is now. The first concept plan was made in 1971 which includes major infrastructure projects such as Singapore’s first MRT lines and the Changi Airport.
According to Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development, he said that after two decades, there is another concept plan made in 1991 which is empowering CBD to decentralise the commercial space in that area. (Mah, 2010)
Future concept plans of 2011 would focus on the softer side of Singapore’s soul as on infrastructure. Having a vibrant place to live in is ideal to make a real difference. There are three factors involved in concept 2011.
To make Singapore a more active and livelier place with vibrant music scene, outdoor restaurants, organic supermarkets, juice bars, rather than passive cultural amenities and big-ticket items. (Florida, 2010)
To have organic growth changes in “distinctive neighbourhoods” for inter-generational bonding and to develop diversity among people.
To recommend environmentally-friendly projects ranging from bike lanes and better public transportation to create a Heritage charter to preserve historic buildings.
With the recently opened Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands, there will be creation of more jobs and more employment opportunities as it is a labour-intensive industry. Not only that, many tourists would come to visit Singapore for the new attractions like the casino and the Universal Studios, therefore increase in tourism receipts. As Marina Bay Sands is being built to cater to the MICE industry, more revenue would be expected as business travellers tend to spend more as they are not cost conscious.