Lessons from Europe and Singapore: Tourism – Part 3


Continued from Part 2.

Singapore, on the other hand is a study of quite a different nature to the European countries. As a modern city state occupying a land mass of 723km² it is limited in what it can have in terms of industries.

Thus Singapore has under Lee Kew Yuan and his successors become a substantial tourist based economy.

As a tourist power, Singapore does very well. It has a number of factors at play that make visiting it an attractive proposition to tourists.

It’s warm tropical climate with temperatures consistently 23-32 the whole time I was there is kept in check by convective storms that develop over inland areas or the Malaysian peninsula and typically peak between 1400-1900 each day. The reliable rain enables a lush green canopy of tropical vegetation. It also enables a range of tropical bird and reptile life to thrive including monitor lizards. This has been recognized by the local wildlife parks.

Singapore has a range of tourist attractions. Fort Canning and the Battlebox, where British General Archibald Percival conducted the biggest capitulation in British military history is one. Whilst Fort Canning is open, the Battlebox is a guided tour whose reservations fill up most days. Marina Bays has the popular floating roof top bar that sits on three separate buildings

If one likes cuisine, Singapore has a full range of culinary delights including a Michelin 1-Star Hawker Chan restaurant. Along the Singapore River there are a number of restaurants with open air decks looking across the river, which serve a range of dishes. I was not there long enough to get a really good look at all of what was on offer.

One of the things that makes Singapore so popular with tourists is the perception of being very safe. This is largely true in terms of crime as Singapore’s non tolerance of drugs, murder and other serious crime mean the death penalty is applicable. Singapore in 2016 had a murder rate of just 0.32 people per 100,000. And in terms of ones own perception of safety, granted I did not venture out at night whilst there.

As for cleanliness, Singapore has low tolerance of dumping of rubbish. I saw no dumping of goods anywhere. The city has universal water supply and a combination of policy, education and legal framework helps oversee this. Given its love of telecommunications, Singapore could in the future develop e-waste recycling as another industry since per thousand people it has one of the highest connection rates in the world. It has the know how, the education system and legal framework potentially there, and it would further enhance its environmentally responsible reputation on which its ability to be a tourist power sits.

I have in the past promoted biofuel as a fuel source whilst writing about New Zealand. I have done that on the understanding that economics might not permit such activity here on a large scale as it would in a densely populated area like Singapore. However one way of helping Singapore maintain an environmentally responsible reputation, in a two fold manner, thereby helping protect the attractive tropical environment that lures so many people to the city state, would be collecting the waste cooking oil as the basis of a biofuel blend. With only quite limited room for refuse facilities, it would make sense to examine what can be taken out of the waste stream.

Singapore has a bright future. I enjoyed my time there and will be going back at some point. Other countries with small landmasses and dense populations can look at how Singapore achieved what it has and perhaps try to replicate it.

Except maybe the death penalty. I don’t endorse that.

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