The Republic is hosting various global sporting events and apart from having world-class facilities, Singaporeans can help sustain the industry, according to sports tourism experts.
Sporting events – from tennis and the Singapore Grand Prix, to golf tournaments and the World Rugby Sevens Series coming to our shores next year – are helping to bring in the money.
“Definitely, there will be a boom of business related to tourism,” said Ms Christine Khoo, a lecturer at Republic Polytechnic’s School of Sports, Health and Leisure. “When we have tourists coming in, there will definitely be additional spending in terms of accommodation, F&B, entertainment and merchandising. All these will create additional income.”
Those in the industry expect more fringe activities to pop up in the lead-up to major events, which will further boost tourism.
Said Ms Lorraine Gan, a Tourism and Resort Management lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic: “The actual event sells itself. But I think it is how we package the rest of it. The clinics, the other extra events – Formula One has the big concerts, Maroon 5 coming. Things like that.
“It is how you package the deals. How can you get a person who is coming for the WTA Open Finals to stay a few more days and visit our museums, our local attractions, our heritage and cultural centres?”
One way is to come up with attractive tour packages, or have local athletes promote the sporting event. Another is to make use of Singapore’s most vital resource – its people.
“Each one of us is like a Singapore ambassador,” said Ms Khoo, stressing that the country wants to be known as fun and vibrant, with a lot of heart and spirit. “And what better way to show it when we have tourists coming in to attend world-class sports events than for us to play our part?”
She explained: “I could be sitting with someone in the F1 paddock and he is from Germany, US, or Australia or other parts of Asia. I just say hello and have a chat with him. This sharing actually forms part of the entire experience that the tourist brings home with him.”
Tourism experts said Singaporeans are generally welcoming to visitors.
With more events slated in the next few years, they expect locals to warm up to taking on more roles – from interns and volunteers, to active supporters of the games.