SINGAPORE: Under a new three-year partnership, Singapore will host entertainment activities themed around Disney’s biggest brands.
The partnership between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia was announced at Singapore’s annual Tourism Industry Conference on Thursday (Apr 13).
The collaboration will start off with Star Wars-themed activities this year, with the first being the Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be With You Festival from May 4-6 at Gardens by the Bay, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the movie franchise.
One of the highlights of this festival will be the SaberTrees, with the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay transformed into lightsabers, as well as the first Star Wars Run here and the outdoor screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This will be followed by other similarly themed activities in the second half of the year, and more details will be announced closer to the date, the press release said.
This will then be followed by the Marvel theme in 2018, and Disney Animation and Disney Pixar in 2019, both parties revealed in their press release.
STB chief executive Lionel Yeo said the collaboration will add vibrancy to the city-state’s existing events calendar and attract visitors from Southeast Asia and beyond. “The multi-year activations will profile our attractions and precincts in Singapore, beginning with Gardens by the Bay for the Star Wars festival held in May.”
Mr Yeo added that the partnership with Disney will also offer opportunities for local event organisers and firms to grow their businesses and “enhance capabilities in world-class branded entertainment events”.
Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia’s managing director Rob Gilby also said the collaboration provides “more exciting opportunities and unique experiences to take the Disney brand of storytelling closer to (its) Singapore fans as well as visitors from the region”.
Disney has six offices in the region including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
ENHANCED KICKSTART FUND TO SUPPORT EVENT CREATION
At the conference, STB also announced that its Kickstart Fund, launched in 2013 to support innovative lifestyle concepts and events with strong tourism potential and scalability, will be enhanced.
The cap of the grant under the fund will be raised to S$200,000 from the initial S$150,000, or up to 70 per cent of qualifying costs, up from the previous 50 per cent limit.
Overall, the initiative will provide up to S$10 million until 2020 to support consumer-focused events and concepts, including hybrid events which cut across lifestyle and business sectors, pop-ups, and services such as art and culinary tours, STB said.
Another announcement made by STB at the conference was that it was jointly developing a design incubator on Orchard Road with JTC and SPRING Singapore to support the showcase and work of local design talents.
Local retail operator Naiise has been appointed through an open tender to manage and operate the showcase, which is projected to run for 10 years.
The design incubator will be housed in a two-and-a-half storey building housed at Orchard Green and is slated to be open by end-2018.
Mr Yeo said the development will make it more convenient for visitors looking for contemporary products that reflect Singapore’s character and design culture.
It will feature more than 40 homegrown designers and brands on a rotational basis, with a focus on new-to-market and emerging designers ranging from fashion and accessories to small home furnishings and souvenirs.
There will also be private work studios, co-working spaces, photography studio and meeting rooms in the development, to allow designers to test-bed and commercialise their projects in a single location.
The showcase builds on the success of Keepers, a 16-month pop-up store for Singapore designers. Almost eight in 10 visitors surveyed said they would like to see a concept anchored in Singapore for the long term, STB said.
LEVERAGING DATA ANALYTICS, TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS
STB also said it plans to leverage data analytics and technology platforms to improve the overall visitor experience.
A new Tourism Information and Services Hub (TIH) will provide a platform for exchange of up-to-date information about Singapore’s tourism offerings between tourism product owners and suppliers with global content distributors.
Meanwhile, a new Singapore Tourism Analytics Network (STAN) will leverage tourism-related data from both STB and the industry to build better intelligence and insights around visitors to drive better tourism strategies and outcomes.
The tourism authority will also open a new regional office in Surabaya, its second office in Indonesia after Jakarta, it announced on Thursday.
In 2016, 2.9 million visitors from Indonesia came to Singapore. STB said the majority of travellers from Surabaya are repeat visitors looking for quick and easy getaways, enjoy exploring cultural precincts, are keen on shopping, entertainment and nightlife and typically stay around three days.
The Surabaya office will enable STB to better consolidate and scale up its resources, and focus on tapping into markets of Eastern Java. It will also work with six airlines with direct flights between Surabaya and Singapore to launch joint promotions.