Following is the transcript of a CNBC interview with Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive Officer, of Singapore Tourism Board. The interview was broadcast on CNBC on 28 April 2017, during CNBC's "Hong Kong versus Singapore" theme week.
All references must be sourced to a "CNBC Interview".
Interviewed by Dan Murphy, Correspondent, CNBC.
Lionel Yeo: Well there are a few things we are doing which I can talk about. I think the first is in the area of pursuing our event strategy, and that's something that we're very committed to, both on the business event side as well as on the leisure event side. It's extremely important that we continue to attract a stream of high quality leisure and business events to Singapore that would draw people to come to Singapore. So in this year for example, we are happy to announce that we have the UFC Fight Night, it's coming in June. We have the International Champions Cup which will see top European clubs come to play, you know, top European clubs come to play in Singapore this year and for the next four years as well so doing things like that helps to drive visitorship to us, pursuing that event strategy. The second thing we're doing, is pursuing the right partnerships. So, partnerships with Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines, you know, allow us to go into the international marketing space in a much more concerted way and effective way. We also have very good partnerships with JTB in Japan and flight center in Australia and that's helping us to drive tourists from those destinations as well.
Dan Murphy: Who is the biggest competitor to Singapore when it comes to tourism arrivals? Is it Hong Kong?
Yeo: I think there are a range of destinations in this region which are competitive. The good news is that Asia Pacific growth for travel and tourism is very robust and expected to be robust in the medium term. So I think there's a lot of growth to go around, it's incumbent on each one of us to do what we need to do to remain competitive. So for Singapore, we're choosing to pursue an events strategy where making sure that our tourism infrastructure continues to be able to support tourism growth whether it's in cruise, or whether it's in business events and so these are the things that we will do to keep competitive.
Dan: One of the other things I wanted to ask you about the uncertainty in the Asian region. We see the events, headlines coming out of North Korea. Recent events in Malaysia, Indonesia as well. Does that impact sentiment and arrivals into Singapore?
Yeo: I think for those of us in travel & tourism, definitely these more macro geopolitical type of developments will have some bearing. At the end of the day, I think we thrive best in a situation where we have economies which are stable & growing, where there is relative peace and stability. So, these things definitely will have an impact on us. Hence, when we do our outlook and forecast, for this year, we are mindful of the growth potential. But we are also mindful that there could be some of these things that could drag growth down.
Dan: And what would you say is Singapore's greatest advantage is as a tourism hub?
Yeo: That you can get so much done, in a relatively small space, that there is so much that we can offer here, and you can have a very meaningful stay here and move around very efficiently, and safely, and so much to discover in one small space.