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Singapore Tourism Board to launch $20m global SG50 campaign as tourism numbers decline

Singapore Tourism Board has launched a big marketing push in what is one of the most important years for tourism in the short history of the city-state.

Facing falling visitor tourist arrivals for the first two quarters of the year, STB is ramping up its locally targeted campaigns in key markets, and has launched a $20 million global push around Singapore’s fiftieth birthday.

Filipino band Up Dharma Down perform 'All the good things'

Filipino band Up Dharma Down perform ‘All the good things’

In the Philippines, a year after a locally targeted STB video went viral for unintended reasons, STB launched a music video last week featuring Filipino band Up Dharma Down.

The film was directed by Johan Polhem, a former creative director for MTV, and features drone-filmed footage of Singapore’s main attractions such as Haji Lane and Gardens by the Bay.

A new global campaign is to launch on 9 June, with $20 million over and above current marketing spend slated to go on advertising around the SG50 celebrations. A microsite for the campaign is now live, and an above-the-line push is to scheduled to run in a fortnight.

The campaign will centre around five key pillars – fly, stay, shop, eat and play – and a series of promotions around key events such as the Great Singapore Sale and Pedestrian Night. Children are to get free access to attractions such as Gardens by the Bay, Mint Museum and Singapore Flyer to boost in-market spend.

STB is placing a lot of emphasis on forging trade partnerships with hotels, tour operators and airlines, and is encouraging local and international stakeholders to work with the tourism body on co-marketing opportunities.

Live like a localOne major digital push is a partnership with online travel website TripAdvisor. The microsite ‘Live like a local’ aims to ‘Unlock all the hidden gems Singapore has to offer’.

On STB’s plans for next year, the government body’s assistant chief executive, marketing group, Lynette Pang said that she could not reveal whether current marketing spend levels would be sustained, but said that some of the activity from this year would carry through to 2016.

Tourism numbers were down five per cent in the first quarter of this year. While tourists arrivals were up in Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Korea, they fell in STB’s biggest four source markets – China, Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia.

However, a high proportion of visitors to Singapore stayed longer and spent more.

Pang said that the decline in tourism numbers was largely to do external factors such as currency movements and economic conditions in major source countries.

The press conference today – the first media update STB has given on its marketing activity – comes three months after an ad agency boss suggested that marketing was partly to blame for Singapore’s falling tourism numbers.

Formul8 MD Fiona Bartholomeusz said: “STB continues to farm out the work to an agency that isn’t even local. Seriously, what’s so damn bad about local agencies in Singapore when global brands are happy to use us?” she wrote in a Facebook post. “It should be led by a local firm that oversees a network of other agencies in key markets that Singapore is targeting.”

She added that Singapore’s decline in tourism was because the city has lost its competitive edge due to the falling Euro and was now too expensive for shoppers.

STB’s key agencies are J. Walter Thompson for creative, Mirum for digital, M&C Saatchi for MICE activity, MEC for media and Edelman for public relations.

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