SINGAPORE: Her tour agency may only be two years old, but Jane Iyer's company bagged an award at the annual Singapore Tourism Awards on Tuesday (May 8) night for the black-and-white house tours it runs.
Ms Iyer is one of 26 individuals and organisations who won awards across three categories: Customer Service, Experience Excellence and Enterprise Excellence.
The 62-year-old's company, Jane’s Singapore Tours - which curates off-the-beaten-track tours in Singapore - won Best Tour Experience for its black-and-white house tours.
Ms Iyer has a team of 15 guides that helps her with tours around Singapore that range from architecture, food and the arts.
BEST TOUR EXPERIENCE: BLACK-AND-WHITE HOUSES TOUR
The black-and-white houses, which date back to the colonial period and were built between 1900 and the 1940s to house British army and administration officers, are an integral part of Singaporean culture, said Ms Iyer.
“People are really interested in seeing them and by showing them these houses, we can talk about history, architecture, as well as features that come together to form the black-and-white houses."
The native Brit first came to Singapore by boat before the nation’s independence in February 1963, and has lived in the country for the past 17 years.
In 2003, she served as president for Friends of the Museums and guided in three museums, led Study Tours to other parts of Asia and ran film and book groups.
"Whether you're Singaporean, an expatriate or tourist, it's an accomplishment for us when people realise there's a lot more happening in Singapore than they expected."
BEST HOTEL EXPERIENCE: THE WAREHOUSE
Boutique hotel The Warehouse is another awardee at the Singapore Tourism Awards.
The hotel beat three others, SO Sofitel Singapore, The Fullerton Hotel and Vagabond Club, to win Best Hotel Experience.
Owned by Singapore hospitality firm, The Lo & Behold Group, The Warehouse Hotel is a locally designed boutique heritage property. It was renovated from an iconic 1895 warehouse, known in Asia as a "godown".
In the early 20th century, its premises were recognised as a hotbed of activity for secret societies, business deals and underground spirit distilling.
The Warehouse Hotel underwent a transformation and reopened in January 2017. It is now a 37-room independent hotel, focusing on heritage and local culture, and features a rooftop infinity pool.
The property is designed by homegrown agency Asylum and local firm Zarch Collaboratives, which led the architectural rehabilitation. The hotel sought to revisit Singapore’s lost history by integrating industrial designs into its decor.
“We had a lot of design excerpts that were looking at aspects of modernity, while at the same time getting a nostalgic feeling back into the building,” said The Warehouse Hotel General Manager Tarun Kalra.
"What separates us from the rest is our celebration of local entrepreneurship, businesses and community."
29 INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS RECOGNISED
A total of 29 individuals and organisations were recognised at the Singapore Tourism Awards ceremony held at The Fairmont Singapore.
Three special awards were given to an outstanding individual and two organisations for their contributions to the industry.
Dr Kiat W Tan, founding chief executive officer of the National Parks Board and Gardens by the Bay, received the top award of Lifetime Achievement for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism.
JTB Corporation and ION Orchard were each awarded the Special Recognition award.
STB chief executive Lionel Yeo said: “The Singapore Tourism Awards aims to raise industry standards by showcasing and celebrating the best of what Singapore has to offer.”
“It is our hope that their passion for what they do will play a part in the telling of the great Singapore story, of how passion is made possible through grit and determination.”
Here are some of the other winners:
Best Attraction Experience: Night Safari
Best Dining Experience: CURATE at Resorts World Sentosa
Best Nightspot Experience: Manhattan Bar at Regent Singapore
Best Shopping Experience: The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Best Leisure Event: Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be With You Festival by Esprimo