'Passion' the priority in Singapore campaign

Mark Ong of SBTG, an apparel company, is among the ‘’brand personalities’’ for the “Passion Made Possible” campaign.
Mark Ong of SBTG, an apparel company, is among the ‘’brand personalities’’ for the “Passion Made Possible” campaign. Photo Credit: Eric Moya

Singapore's "Passion Made Possible" campaign targets travelers via seven "Passion Tribes" coinciding with various aspects of Singapore tourism, including culinary travel (Foodie tribe), shopping (Collector tribe) and outdoor travel (Explorer tribe).

The campaign rolls out in the U.S. this month; during the brand launch event in August, destinations editor Eric Moya spoke with Lionel Yeo, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board. 

Lionel Yeo
Lionel Yeo

Q: What are some aspects of Singapore tourism you hope to communicate to the U.S. market?

A: A lot of Americans perceive Singapore as a business city. We're not as well known as a city for leisure experiences; even though we are rich in terms of our multicultural environment, that doesn't get so much attention. 

So we hope that this brand, "Passion Made Possible," will allow us to tell a lot more about the passions of Singaporeans. And we are quite confident that some of these passion points will intersect with the passion points of our target audiences in the U.S.

Q: In your visitor research that led to the new campaign, did you find that you already had some momentum with certain segments in the U.S.?

A: Thanks to the efforts of people like Anthony Bourdain, I think we are quite well known as being a food paradise. So that's something where there's potential for us to dial that up and hopefully excite Americans to want to consider a visit to Singapore.

Scenes from Singapore

Q: Are you moving away from promoting Singapore as a stopover destination?

A: We've been encouraged by our average length of stay. Across all our markets we are at about 3.5 days, and I think for the U.S. market it's actually longer than that — something like 3.8 days. I think we are very confident that the destination product allows you to really spend time and go deep and experience a breadth of things.

Now, the stopover market is still important. But I think first and foremost we want to present Singapore as a destination in its own right.

Q: The campaign focuses on tourism experiences that reflect Singaporeans' interests, and during the launch event there was some talk of authenticity and ways to enable visitors to live like a local. Will that include home sharing a la HomeAway or Airbnb?

A: There is a policy review going on in terms of how our policy stance should evolve in order to allow for [home sharing] accommodation. Right now our planning act, which is under the Ministry of National Development, actually doesn't allow stays of less than six months, which rules out the kind of accommodation options you're talking about.

But there's a policy review underway, and from [the tourism board's] perspective it's a trend that we can't ignore. I personally believe that there are policy options available to cities to allow for these accommodation options. And it may not be the same across cities. All politics is local: What are residents prepared to accommodate and accept? I think that's different in San Francisco, it's different in Chicago, it's different in Singapore. We are all finding our way.


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