Monday, May 25, 2009

Rise in Qatari visitors to Singapore: Official

The Peninsula/ By Joyce C Abaño

DOHA: Singapore has received a five-percent increase of visitors from the Gulf region, specifically in Qatar, in the first quarter of this year, an official from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said. Jason Ong, STB area director for Middle East and Africa, said last year, they had a 16-percent growth of tourists from the Gulf region, around 114,000, and seven percent of those visitors were from Qatar, which is around 7,000.

“This is a good number considering that a few years back, we only had very few visitors from Qatar. Now, the number has grown, and we want to invite more locals to visit Singapore,” said Ong, who divulged that he was amazed at how Qatar has changed in a matter of few months. “Qatar is a growing city and I can see there are a lot of new high-rise buildings being constructed.”

Ong, who is in Qatar to promote Singapore as a tourist destination, said later this year, Singapore will have new places and new establishments to offer its guests, like the Marina Bay Sands.

The Marina Bay Sands, the over US$3bn project owned by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, will be opened by the end of this year. Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., announced in a statement that the Las Vegas Sands Corp. “is excited and ready to join Singapore on a historic journey. As a catalyst for the economic future of Singapore and a launch pad for its tourism industry, Marina Bay Sands will help Singapore solidify its standing among the world’s greatest destinations.”

The Marina Bay Sands, located along the Marina Bay waterfront, will feature three cascading hotel towers topped by an extraordinary sky park, “floating” crystal pavilions, a lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum, retail stores featuring cutting-edge labels and international luxury brands, trendy celebrity chef restaurants, theatres, night clubs and a Las-Vegas-style casino. Business visitors will also enjoy the extensive Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) facilities featuring state-of-the-art technology, exhibition halls, and a convention centre that can host over 45,000 delegates.

Singapore will open early next year the Resorts World at Sentosa, which will include a water theme park; and the Universal Studios Singapore.


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