May 24, 2024

An exclusive interview with the Singapore Tourism Commissioner Melissa Oo. Weekly flights up 132% compared to pre-COVID Looking forward to collaborating with K contents through ‘MIS Campaign’

[Travelers View] Singapore Tourism Authority Commissioner, Meet ‘Melissa Ow’! Video = Kim Gyu-ran Travel + PD

Melissa Oo, director of the Singapore Tourism Organization, visited Korea. He recently participated in the “Showtime Made in Singapore” event on Sebit Island in Seoul and announced plans to establish Singapore as an attractive destination for travelers and raise Singapore’s profile as a travel destination.

The event introduced a promotional campaign called “Made in Singapore,” as well as a content partnership recently unveiled by the Singapore Tourism Organization.

Broadcasters Song Eun-i and Kim Sook, who recently visited Singapore, hosted Singapore as part of the Singapore Tourism Authority’s brand entertainment and content collaboration, which introduced Singapore’s gastronomic delights and hidden gem-like attractions such as NatureSpa and 4AM Pizza.

He also provided special experiences through various entertainment stages, including performances by singer Im Moo-jin and Jam Republic dancers Bada and Kirsten.

Melissa Ou, Commissioner, Singapore Tourism Authority. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority
Melissa Ou, Commissioner, Singapore Tourism Authority. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority

While tourism is showing a strong recovery around the world, we are happy to meet with many Korean partners who play an important role in boosting Singapore tourism.

Melissa Oo, Commissioner, Singapore Tourism Authority

Travel Plus interviewed Melissa Ou, director of the Singapore Tourism Authority. Ou, who took office in June last year, served as vice president of the Investment Promotion Group at the Singapore Economic Development Authority for Customer Experience, Marketing and Economic Development Authority before taking office.

Having previously held various roles in Singapore, he served as the deputy commissioner in his last position, promoting Singapore to the world as a venue for premier events and a major tourism investment attraction. The following is an interview with Commissioner Oh.

Q. What is the trend of Singapore’s tourism recovery?

2023 has been a promising year for the resumption and recovery of tourism in Singapore. A total of 13.6 million international visitors visited Singapore. This is about 71% of 2019. Tourism income is also showing a rapid recovery. As of the end of 2023, the total tourism income is estimated to be S$25 billion to S$26 billion (about W25 trillion to W26 trillion).

Q. How many Korean tourists visit Singapore?

Last year, 570,000 Korean tourists visited Singapore, and the average length of stay of Korean tourists increased. Tourism revenues reached 700 million Singapore dollars last year.

In the first quarter of this year, the number of visitors reached 190,000, an increase of 104% compared to 2019. Weekly flights linking Singapore and South Korea also increased 132% compared to 2019, with direct flights currently operating in three locations: Incheon, Gimhae and Jeju.

Currently, Korea is Singapore‘s eighth-largest market, and Singapore, which was previously ranked 10th in Asia‘s overseas travel destination rankings, ranked sixth last year. I think Singapore’s new experiences are well received by Korean tourists.

Sentosa Island. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority
Sentosa Island. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority

Q. It is also attracting a lot of attention in events and business areas.

Taylor Swift recently completed her six-day tour of the Asian concert. This concert was an opportunity for Taylor Swift and her fans to communicate and strengthen their ties.

As a business event, the World Dermatological Congress was held last year, and the Rotary Club’s annual event, the Rotary International Convention, will be held this month. About 13,000 participants are expected to visit the convention.

Melissa Oo, director of the Singapore Tourism Authority, and Lee Soo-young, CEO of JTBC. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority
Melissa Oo, director of the Singapore Tourism Authority, and Lee Soo-young, CEO of JTBC. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority

Q. I’m curious about the reason for your visit to Korea.

One of the important challenges for us is to find a new way to engage with Korean travelers. This time, we are happy to sign new MOUs or extend partnerships with many major broadcasting and consumer brand officials in Korea.

One of them is JTBC. It signed a business agreement to support the production of entertainment programs in Singapore thanks to the hot Korean wave in various fields such as entertainment, music, TV shows, and dramas.

It also extended its partnership with Studio Dragon by three years. In 2022, he successfully filmed the drama “Little Women” in Singapore. We hope that Korean Wave fans not only in Korea but also around the world will discover Singapore’s unique charm through successful filming collaboration in the future.

For the third time, it also partnered with Shinhan Card. Based on travel-related data of Shinhan Card users, joint promotions and marketing will be conducted.

Bird Paradise. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority
Bird Paradise. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority

Q. Please introduce the new attractions that have been created since the pandemic.

First, Bird Paradise was newly opened. It is Asia’s largest bird park, where more than 3,500 species of birds can be seen.

A new attraction called Sensoryscape was also opened last month, allowing visitors to experience a completely different sentosa than before. It consists of six gardens that stimulate various senses such as light, sound, and smell, and visitors can interact and immerse themselves in them.

Q. Is there a local hot place that tourists don’t know well about?

One of my personal favorite experiences is the coast-to-coast trail. It is a road that connects all of Singapore’s parks, gardens, and nature reserves, and you can enjoy Singapore’s wonderful nature in a variety of ways, including cycling, running, and walking.

I also like the Hawker Center, which is full of local characteristics. The Hawker Center is an indispensable food culture in Singapore, where people gather indoors and outdoors to enjoy a variety of local Singaporean food.

I would like to recommend Tiong Bahru among hawker centers. Tiongbaru is a long-established alley where locals often go grocery shopping or enjoy delicious hawker food.

Melissa Ou, director of the Singapore Tourism Authority, who attended the Showtime Made in Singapore event. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority
Melissa Ou, director of the Singapore Tourism Authority, who attended the Showtime Made in Singapore event. /Photo = Singapore Tourism Authority

Q. Lastly, is there anything you want to say to Korean travelers?

Singapore continues to develop rapidly. It constantly introduces new experiences to provide unforgettable memories to visitors. I hope that Korean tourists and business travelers in family and friends will have more opportunities to enjoy Singapore. Please experience the food culture, which is the highlight of your trip to Singapore, and have a good time.


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