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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why Singapore's neighbors hate it

"Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning." - George Carlin

***

Behold the attitude evident in:

Bangkok-bound tourists heading to Singapore instead

"Tourists who are put off by the Bangkok floods are choosing to come to Singapore for their year-end vacation instead...

This bodes well for the tourism industry here.

Ms Alicia Seah, CTC Travel's senior vice-president for marketing and public relations, said her agency has seen a rise of about 15 per cent - an estimated 200 more visitors - compared with the fourth quarter of last year. She put it down to the Bangkok factor.

'There are those who have no other option but to avoid Thailand, and Singapore is enjoying the spillover,' she said, adding that her company has noticed spikes especially in the Chinese and Vietnamese markets...

Mr Loh Lik Peng, director of Hotel 1929, Wanderlust and New Majestic Hotel, said he has also seen a spillover effect from the Bangkok floods in the last two or three weeks, but he declined to give numbers.

Tourists mainly from China, Vietnam

National Association of Travel Agents Singapore chief executive Robert Khoo said Singapore is a ready substitute for Bangkok-bound tourists because it is also a big city and tourists can enjoy the same kind of good-quality shopping here.

Given the current trend, he expects that Singapore could benefit from up to thousands of these accidental tourists.

And the good news for retailers here is most of these tourists are ready to spend...

The president of the Dalian Overseas Chinese Chamber of Commerce and his team of eight were planning to go to Bangkok as part of their South-east Asia business trip but had to cancel after the floods hit. They lost about 30,000 yuan (S$6,000) in flights and booking fees.

However, they are making the best of it by doing their shopping and sightseeing here. On Sunday, they collectively spent about $100,000 on bags, sunglasses and belts from designer brands such as Miu Miu and Louis Vuitton...

Singapore hosted a record 11.6 million tourists last year, who spent an unprecedented $18.8 billion...

Singapore is not the only country benefiting from this. The Economic Times from India reported two weeks ago that India was seeing Bangkok-bound tourists from Western countries."


What is absent: the slightest trace of sympathy for Thailand's pain, just gloating at Singapore's fortune.

Incidentally I was unable to find any Economic Times article reporting that India was "seeing Bangkok-bound tourists from Western countries". The closest was an aside about a good portion of tourists heading to Sri Lanka.

Critically, it didn't go on at length about how Sri Lanka would benefit - and the Times is not a Sri Lankan paper either.
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