With its Botanic Gardens declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its spot at the top of Lonely Planet's Best Travel Destination 2015 list, Singapore has tourism sorted, right? Maybe not, say experts, who told CNBC this was a perfect time for the city-state to reinvent itself yet again.
"For Singapore to remain competitive and relevant in the future, the key is to reinvent," Yu Xian Lim, research analyst at Euromonitor, told CNBC by email. "Home to a collage of museums and heritage sites with rich local histories, Singapore can consider carving a niche in cultural tourism, especially after the recent UNESCO win."
Last year Singapore posted its first decline in visitor numbers since 2009, down 3 percent on-year to 15.1 million, due mainly to a fall in Chinese holidaymakers to the region amid political unrest in Thailand, the Malaysia Airlines' twin tragedies and tighter regulations on tour packages in the mainland.
The downtrend has continued this year despite the Lonely Planet accolade, with the number of tourists decreasing 4.1 percent through May.
To give the sector a boost, the Singapore Tourism Board launched a 20 million Singapore dollar-campaign in June in conjunction with the nation's Golden Jubilee celebrations this year. However, Ngee Ann Polytechnic's senior tourism lecturer Michael Chiam said such "piggyback strategies" may not be enough to rejuvenate the industry from a long-term perspective.
And while World Heritage status for the 156-year-old Botanic Gardens is expected boost visitor numbers to the 74-hectare park by as much as 20 percent, according to National Parks Board, industry watchers who spoke to CNBC were less bullish about the garden's boost on overall tourist arrivals.
Instead, experts say Singapore, best known for its shopping and gastronomic opportunities, as well as an array of man-made marvels such as Marina Bay Sands, needs to cater to the rise of so-called free and independent tourists (FITS) who want alternative ways to explore a country.
"While many tourists came on tour groups in the past, we have more FITs nowadays who plan their own itinerary, like to do what the locals do and are looking for new, authentic experiences," Chiam said. "In recent years, our focus has been on adding new attractions and new events like the Singapore Grand Prix, it may be a good idea to start promoting our own culture and heritage."