EYEING Davao City as a potential market for tourism, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has urged airline companies to offer direct flights from Davao City to Changi International Airport in Singapore, which is served via Cebu City.

 Lynelle Seow, STB area director for Philippines and Brunei, said in yesterday’s media briefing at Marco Polo Hotel Davao, said Davao City is a “good market,” but Dabawenyo travellers are usually burdened with additional cost as they have to travel to Cebu City before flying to Singapore.

“The Philippine and the Singapore government signed in April an air service agreement providing for additional air capacity to the Philippines, including Davao,” she said.

This means, Seow said, that Davao airport can serve more flights, even direct flights, to Singapore, depending on the airlines.

 Last year, there were about 10,000 tourists from Davao City who travelled to Singapore, which embarked on a new promotion campaign tagged as “Our Singapore.” This replaces its “Uniquely Singapore” campaign which lasted for five years.

Considering that there are no direct flights that serve the Davao-Singapore route, Seow said the figure only shows that “Davao is a healthy market for Singapore.”

“Singapore and Davao City has a lot of similarities and this city has always garnered praises from its foreign visitors. Number one is because of the durian. Both are very clean and you have a lot of trees here. Coming from Singapore, Davao City comes as a familiar place which we think goes both ways. The numbers of Dabawenyos going to Singapore, we could say is very healthy,” she said.

The Philippines ranked 8th in terms of tourist arrivals in Singapore, with Australia, China, Korea and Indonesia on top in 2009, a one notch higher from the previous year.

This only shows the Filipinos’ continuing interest in the island country off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula.

There were 430,000 Filipino tourists who visited Singapore last year. The island country registered more than 10 million tourists in 2009.

 “We see tourist arrivals in Singapore to increase by 16 percent this year,” Seow said.

 The STB this year announced they have improved the country’s tourism tagline of “Uniquely Singapore” to “Your Singapore” which Seow explained as their own way of adopting to the growing dynamism of the world.

 “This cosmopolitan city always welcome visitors with its dynamism. Things are always changing in Singapore, after one month you would see a new building or a new road, and with each visit our guests would surely have a new experience. Singapore has become a hub of global activities while maintaining the beauty and concentration of the cultures it has,” Seow said.

 “We are five million in Singapore and one million are expats. Last year we received 10 million visitors which we expect would rise to 12 million this year. Singapore has a lot to offer and this time its Singapore asking our visitors ‘what is your Singapore?'” she said.

 Your Singapore’s website offers overseas visitors to log in and personalize their own itinerary according to their individual needs, preferences and interests.

 “You can schedule your stay even before you arrive. Singapore can offer you cheap accommodation to the high-end. Food there is very cheap and you could buy souvenirs for like one dollar (Singapore) that’s like thirty pesos,” Seow said.

 “Filipinos who come for a visit come to shop, to eat and to see sights and we could offer that. During May to July we have the great sale and now, from November 20 to January 2, Filipinos can take in the holiday sights and wonders Singapore has. In Singapore there’s always something to see and to experience,”


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