Snowboarding in Singapore? City-State Moves to Revamp Tourism

By BLOOMBERG

Singapore, the famed locale for the “Crazy Rich Asians” movie, is getting back into the business of wooing tourists. 

Snowboarding in the heart of the tropical city, and transforming an indoor, air-conditioned forest to create an experience based on science-fiction film Avatar, are among the offerings in the works, Keith Tan, chief executive officer of the Singapore Tourism Board, told a conference on Wednesday. The government has also set aside almost S$500 million ($367 million) to support the tourism recovery.     

“We have survived!”, Tan said, adding the sector is now poised for a strong rebound over the next few years. The “light at the end of the tunnel is real and getting bigger!” 

Plans include turning an Orchard Road site into an integrated facility where people can skate, surf, ski and snowboard, Tan said. He also spoke about efforts to position the financial hub as an urban wellness haven, “different from Bali or Phuket.”

With Singapore saying late last month it wants to move decisively forward to living with Covid-19, businesses and consumers are seeing a rebound. More people can now eat together at restaurants, most restrictions for travel into Singapore have been dropped, and nightclubs can fully reopen this month.   

The push to lure tourists is important as the sector is a key contributor to growth and job creation. International visitor arrivals to Singapore dropped to 330,000 in 2021, compared to 19.1 million in 2019 – generating almost S$28 billion in tourism receipts – before the pandemic struck.

More tourists are starting to come, Tan said Wednesday. The number of short-term visitors more than doubled in March to about 120,000, from 57,000 in January.