The Flourishing Sectors of Tourism and Hospitality
By Everlyn Lee

Thanks to attractive upcoming developments, Singapore's tourism and hospitality sectors are poised for growth.

Since March 2004, Singapore's tourism sector has enjoyed 48 months of growth in visitor arrivals. In 2008, despite the downturn in the fourth quarter, tourism receipts still achieved a record-high of S$14.8 billion. While these figures are impressive, the country is not resting on her laurels, but plans to continue boosting its appeal as a tourism destination.

Generating a buzz
Major upcoming projects include the opening of two Integrated Resorts (IRs) in 2009 and 2010, the Youth Olympic Games in 2010, and the launch of a River Safari in 2011. Internationally renowned attractions like Orchard Road and the Singapore River are also being spruced up, while the Marina Bay area now has a new addition to its skyline in the form of the Singapore Flyer, currently the world's largest observation wheel. Here’s the lowdown on what to expect of Singapore's tourism landscape in the near future.

Integrated Resorts
Opening in 2009, the S$5 billion Marina Bay Sands™ Integrated Resort will house Singapore's first casino, extensive convention facilities, three hotel towers, and world-class retail, dining and entertainment attractions. Developed by Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the IR will have a strong focus on Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE).

Integrated Resorts
Opening in 2009, the S$5 billion Marina Bay Sands™ Integrated Resort will house Singapore's first casino, extensive convention facilities, three hotel towers, and world-class retail, dining and entertainment attractions. Developed by Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the IR will have a strong focus on Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE).

The second IR, Resorts World at Sentosa, will come to life in 2010. Developed by Genting International at over S$6 billion, it will comprise Universal Studios Singapore (the theme park's only Southeast Asian facility), six themed hotels, the world's largest marine life park, a maritime museum, convention facilities, as well as various retail, dining, spa, entertainment and gaming options.

An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 additional jobs are expected to be created throughout the economy once both IRs become fully operational. About 20,000 workers are expected to be directly employed by the resorts. If you enjoy the vibe of theme parks and casinos or the buzz of world-class events and entertainment, then a job at the integrated resorts will be ideal for you. Besides the many jobs that will be available in their five-star hotels, the IRs will also create new and exciting positions in the casinos – jobs which were previously unavailable in Singapore.

Youth Olympic Games
Singapore is the privileged host of the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games in August 2010. The 12-day event is expected to draw 3,500 global sporting talents aged 14 to 18, and an estimated 15,000 overseas participants including athletes, officials, spectators and media. The event will certainly cast the international media spotlight on Singapore and serves as an opportune platform to position her as a sporting hub while showcasing her exciting tourist attractions.

The Singapore Flyer

Officially launched in early 2008, the Flyer offers visitors a panoramic 360-degree view of Singapore, as well as a complete leisure experience with its supporting retail, dining, and ‘live' entertainment options. Already considered a new icon of the country, the Flyer is expected to attract an additional 2.5 million visitors to Singapore every year.

River Safari

Wildlife Reserve Singapore – the parent company the Jurong Bird Park, Singapore Zoo and Night Safari – recently revealed its plans to open a River Safari in Singapore in 2011. Featuring boat rides and freshwater habitat displays, the River Safari will span 89ha and cost S$140 million to develop. The first of its kind in Asia, the park is expected to draw at least 750,000 visitors annually.

Entertainment
There have also been interesting additions to Singapore’s nightlife and dining scene, in the form of chic enclaves like Rochester Park and Tanglin Village. Moreover, the new Terminal 3 at Changi Airport and upcoming International Cruise Terminal at Marina South point to improvements in infrastructure that will enhance Singapore's ability to handle the projected surge in visitor arrivals.

Expanding capabilities
To ensure adequate supply of accommodation to meet the projected demand, the next three to four years will see an additional 12,000 hotel rooms come on-stream as new hotels are built. Of this number, more than a third will come from the two integrated resorts alone. In addition, 10 sites set apart for hotel development have already been made available for sale in the first quarter of 2009 under the Government Land Sales programme.

Success in the tourism and hospitality sector also depends on nurturing a quality workforce that is capable of delivering excellent customer service. To do so, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, Ministry of Manpower and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched a Tourism Talent Plan in 2007. Under this plan, S$360 million was allocated to be spent over three years to train 74,000 tourism industry workers, thus equipping Singapore with qualified manpower to cope with higher levels of visitor arrivals. Some 6,000 students will also be trained to join the tourism industry by 2010, while a S$30-million scheme introduced by STB will support tourism establishments in developing their manpower by acquiring specialised tourism-related skills or new capabilities.

This year, STB launched a new plan dubbed BOOST (Building On Opportunities to Strengthen Tourism), which was conceived in anticipation of challenging times ahead for the tourism industry. This $90-million initiative aims to boost demand for Singapore as an ideal tourist destination, increase the government’s funding towards tourism, improve the sector’s capabilities, reach out to Singaporeans, enhance partnerships within the industry, as well as secure a positive future for the industry as a whole.

With the rapid rate at which major developments like the IRs are being built, employers and government agencies are upping efforts to train and recruit global talents to supplement the local workforce. A career in tourism spans many areas such as customer service, guest relations, catering and banqueting, public relations and marketing, branding and communications, events management, and more. With the ball in your court, all you need to do is to make a decision that will open up endless career opportunities for yourself in a uniquely promising industry.

For more information about the tourism industry and career opportunities, visit http://www.stb.gov.sg