Singapore is carrying out a S$1 million ($800,000) campaign to woo back the Chinese tourists following dips in the number of their arrivals in recent months, local newspaper reported Tuesday.
Changi Airport Group said it has joined hands with Singapore Tourism Board, two casino resorts and other travel partners in the five-month marketing drive that runs through October, the Straits Times said.
Road shows will be held in major Chinese cities to sell Singapore and its attractions, with goodie bags given to those who buy travel packages.
The monthly number of tourist arrivals from China at Singapore’s Changi Airport jumped by 14.5 percent year on year in January, but has been dipping in the following four months.
Between January and May, Changi handled 1.87 million passengers flying to and from China, down 1.7 percent year on year.
Tourism experts said the slowdown has been on the back of political instability in Thailand as well as the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which was carrying mainly Chinese travellers.
Singapore has been hit because Chinese tourists who visit Southeast Asia typically cover all three countries, they said.
No monthly data was provided, but the decline is easing, according to an airport spokesman.
For the first time, the 1.24 million Chinese who visited Singapore in the first half of last year overtook Indonesian visitors as the biggest spenders. Statistics from the Singapore Tourism Board show they spent almost S$1.52 billion ($1.22 billion), excluding spendings on sightseeing and entertainment.
The Singapore Retailers Association said that retailers have felt the impact, especially on the prime shopping belt.
While Chinese tourists were the biggest spenders last year,” this may not be the case in 2014,” said a spokesperson of the association.
Michael Chiam, a senior lecturer of tourism at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said the initiative to sell Singapore as a standalone destination makes sense.
“The bulk of Chinese tourists we get today are people who come with large tour groups covering several countries at one time. It is important to build up a group of free and easy travellers who are more inclined to plan their own itineraries,” he said.
Singapore tries to reverse dip in number of Chinese tourists