CHENNAI:Tourism between India and Singapore may not have grown at the rate of knots these last few years, but the country’s tourism board is optimistic about bucking that trend by dangling something that no Indian tourist can resist: a great deal. By offering promotional return fares that begin at a super-affordable Rs 7,999 from Chennai, Singaporean low cost carrier TigerAir is looking to boost the tourism numbers from India to Singapore past the one million mark, by end of 2015.
Will it work, given that TigerAir is constrained to operating from only five South Indian airports? “I’m sure it will do a lot to increase those numbers, but a lot more needs to be done as far as air connectivity Is concerned,” said Bridget Goh, area director, South Asia, Singapore Tourism Board. To commemorate their golden jubilee, the board has linked hands with the air carrier and is pinning a lot of hope on the South Indian market. “There are a lot more visitors from South India because of our historical connection. In 2014 we had 9,43,000 Indians. This year we will definitely surpass that, we have exceeded half a million already. The growth for 2014 over the previous year was only 1 per cent but if you look at the global economic situation it’s still a very good takeaway. It’s not unique to India, it’s a global issue that has dampened travel sentiments. But the rupee has stabilized and the economic policy has also stabilised this year compared to last year,” she added optimistically.
In addition to the cheap fares, Singapore Tourism also showcased some of the new attractions they were adding to their roster, as if Universal Studios and Sentosa Island weren’t enough. “We will have a new Indian heritage centre is a centre that celebrates the Indian forefathers from Singapore, a lot of them hail from South India and we celebrate their contributions,” she said and added, “The airport has introduced an enhanced free visit tour — heritage or city lights— which will take people around Singapore for 2.5 hours. This is for people with more than 5-6 hour transit passengers,” she added.