SINGAPORE’S focus on attracting high-yield visitors (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 22) might actually restrain tourism performance in the long term.
In an interview with TTG Asia e-Daily, Robert Khoo, CEO of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS), emphasised that it was crucial for the Singapore tourism industry to strike a balance between the high-end and mass- inbound markets.
“I applaud the Singapore Tourism Board’s efforts to focus on high-spending tourists, but we must not forget tourists from the lower end of the spectrum,” he said. “If we do not court them actively and effectively, Singapore will no longer be on their list of destinations to visit."
According to Khoo, travel agents catering to mass-market tourists have cited the acute shortage of budget accommodation as a bone of contention, on top of exorbitant hotel room rates.
Khoo said that the higher cost of visiting Singapore, compared to other regional destinations, was already pushing some tour groups to seek alternative accommodation in neighbouring Johor, or to even drop it from their multi-destination itineraries altogether.
He added that there was an urgent need for Singapore to build more economy hotels in order to prevent a possible exodus of mass-market tourists.