Tourism / Transport
Tourism in Singapore is a major industry and contributor to the Singaporean economy, attracting 15,231,469 international tourists in 2015, over thrice of Singapore's total population. It is also environmentally friendly, and maintains natural and heritage conservation programs. Along with this, it also has one of the world's lowest crime rates. As English is the dominant one of its four official languages, it is generally easier for tourists to understand when speaking to the local population of the country, for example, when shopping. Transport in Singapore exhaustively covers most, if not all public venues in Singapore, which increases convenience for tourists. This includes the well-known Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 ranks Singapore 11th out of 141 countries overall, which was the second best in Asia only behind Japan (ranked 9th). The report ranks Singapore's business environment, international openness, also travel and tourism policy and enabling conditions as the best in the world (ranked 1st). However, the island nation scored rather low in natural and cultural resources sub-index (ranked 40th).
The Orchard Road district, which is dominated by multi-storey shopping centres and hotels, can be considered the center of tourism in Singapore. Other popular tourist attractions include the Singapore Zoo, River Safari and Night Safari, which allows people to explore Asian, African and American habitats at night without any visible barriers between guests and the wild animals. The Singapore Zoo has embraced the 'open zoo' concept whereby animals are kept in enclosures, separated from visitors by hidden dry or wet moats, instead of caging the animals, while the River Safari, features 10 different ecosystems around the world, including the River Nile, Yangtze River, Mississippi, Amazon as well as the Tundra and has 300 species of animals, including numerous endangered species.
Jurong Bird Park is another zoological garden centred on birds, which is dedicated towards exposing the public to as much species and varieties of birds from around the world as possible, including a flock of one thousand flamingos. The tourist island of Sentosa, which attracts 19 million visitors in 2011, is located in the south of Singapore, consists of about 20–30 landmarks, such as Fort Siloso, which was built as a fortress to defend against the Japanese during World War II.
Guns from the World War II era can be seen at Fort Siloso, from a mini-sized to a 16 pound (7 kg) gun. Moreover, the island has built the Tiger Sky Tower, which allows visitors to view the whole of Sentosa, as well as the Sentosa Luge, a small one- or two-person sled on which one sleighs supine and feet-first. Steering is done by shifting the weight or pulling straps attached to the sled's runners. Among the latest tourists attractions built in Singapore includes the two integrated resorts which houses casinos, namely Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, a Universal Studios theme park and Gardens by the Bay.
Singapore attracted 15,095,152 visitors in 2014, according to the Singapore Tourism Board's statistics, but which excludes Malaysian visitors who visited Singapore via the Causeway or the Second Link. This was a 3% decrease from 2013, due to a decline in arrivals from China, Singapore's second largest market.
Total visitor days was a record 56 million days, a growth of 3%, or an average of 3.7 days per visitor. 21% of visitors were day-trippers, while 79% stayed for a day or more. 77.5% of visitors arrived by air, 10.2% by sea, and 12.3% by land. The largest age group of visitors was from 25 to 34 years old at 22.9% of visitors, followed by 21.3% for those aged 35–44 and 16.9% for those from 45 to 54 years old.
Over half (53%) of visitors came from the five biggest markets, mainly Indonesia (3,025,178), People's Republic of China (1,722,380), Malaysia (1,233,035), Australia (1,074,878) and India (943,636). Other major markets include Japan (824,741), the Philippines (676,481), South Korea (536,975), Thailand (506,509) and the United States of America (484,912).
Tourism receipts was estimated at S$23.6 billion in 2014, compared to S$18.9 billion in 2010, with Sightseeing, Entertainment & Gaming accounting for 24.7% of total expenditure, Accommodation making up 22.5%, Shopping accounting for 17.4% and Food and Beverage another 9.6%. Medical receipts, representing the medical-tourism industry in the country contributed 4.2%.
Gazetted hotel room revenue was estimated at S$3.15 billion, an increase of 7.7% over 2013. The overall average occupancy rate was at 85%, 0.9% lesser than 2013, with the Upscale tier seeing the largest increase of 1%. Overall average room rate remained flat at S$258, while the overall revenue per available room was S$221, an decrease of 0.9% over 2013.
There are various shopping belts in Singapore, Marina Bay, Bugis Street, Chinatown, Geylang Serai, Kampong Gelam & Arab Street, Little India, North Bridge Road, Orchard Road, and The Suburbs.
Singapore seeks to be the business hub of Southeast Asia and has an expansive shopping precinct located in the Orchard Road district. Many multistorey shopping centres are located at Orchard Road; the area also has many hotels, and it's the main tourism centre of Singapore, other than the Downtown Core. The local populace also use Orchard Road for shopping extensively.
Sentosa is a relatively large island of Singapore located to its south. Along with a beach-front resort, the island's tourist attractions include Fort Siloso, its historical museum, the Underwater World aquarium and the Tiger Sky Tower. Singapore also features two casinos (integrated resorts), one the Marina Bay Sands and the other, Resorts World Sentosa (home to Universal Studios Singapore and Madame Tussauds Singapore) The proposal of building the integrated resorts was controversial.
Singapore has a variety of parks and projects which often feature its natural tropical environment.
Singapore has 3 zoos, namely, the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari. The Singapore Zoo displays animals in 'open' naturalistic, spacious, landscaped enclosures separated from the visitors by hidden barriers, moats, and glass, with various shows and events occurring throughout the day to allow visitors to interact with the animals. Night Safari is the world's first nocturnal zoo, set in a humid tropical forest that is only open at night, it is divided into seven geographical zones, which can be explored either on foot via four walking trails, or by tram. River Safari features a tropical rainforest settingand features 10 different ecosystems around the world, with 5000 animals of 300 species. Among the main attractions in the River Safari is a pair of male and female giant pandas – Kai Kai (凯凯) and Jia Jia (嘉嘉)– which are housed in a specially constructed climate-controlled enclosure which change throughout the four seasons emulating their original environment.
Among the various gardens and parks located in the country, Singapore's Singapore Botanic Gardens, Jurong Bird Park and Gardens by the Bay are most popular amongst tourists. The Singapore Botanical Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a 52 hectares tropical garden, among its main attractions includes the National Orchid collection with over 3000 types of orchids growing. Jurong Bird Park, is a bird zoo with extensive specimens of exotic bird life from around the world, including a flock of one thousand flamingos. The bird park is largest in the world in terms of the number of birds. Gardens By The Bay, designed as a series of large tropical leaf-shaped gardens, each with its own specific landscaping design, character and theme. Its main attractions are the two conservatories, the Flower Dome, which replicates a mild, dry climate and features plants found in the Mediterranean and other semi-arid tropical regions, and the Cloud Forest, which replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) and 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) above sea level, found in South-East Asia, Middle- and South America. Other main attractions include the Supertree Grove, which features tree-like structures, known as Supertrees that dominate the Gardens' landscape. They are vertical gardens that perform a multitude of functions, which include planting, shading and working as environmental engines for the gardens.
Singapore also has two ASEAN Heritage Parks, which are the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, an extensive nature reserve which covers much of the Bukit Timah Hill, and is the only remaining place where primary rainforest still exists on the island, and the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, which is known for its high variety of bird species, crabs, mudskippers and flora and fauna.
Pulau Ubin, is an offshore island where the last of undeveloped kampongs (villages) and wooden jetties, relaxed inhabitants, rich and preserved wildlife, abandoned quarries and plantations, and untouched nature still exists. One of the more popular spots on the island is, Chek Jawa, a previous coral reef 5000 years ago, where several ecosystems can be observed in one area.
Transport of Singapore
As Singapore is a small island with a high population density, the number of private cars on the road is restricted so as to curb pollution and congestion. Car buyers must pay for duties one-and-a-half times the vehicle's market value, and bid for a Singaporean Certificate of Entitlement (COE), which allows the car to run on the road for a decade. The cost of the Singaporean certificate of entitlement alone would buy a Porsche Boxster in the United States. Car prices are generally significantly higher in Singapore than in other English-speaking countries. As with most Commonwealth countries, vehicles on the road and people walking on the streets keep to the left.
Singaporean residents also travel by foot, bicycles, bus, taxis and train (MRT or LRT). Two companies run the public bus and train transport system—SBS Transit and SMRT Corporation. There are six taxi companies, who together put out over 28,000 taxis on the road. Taxis are a popular form of public transport as the fares are relatively cheap compared to many other developed countries.
Singapore has a road system covering 3,356 kilometers (2,085 mi), which includes 161 kilometers (100 mi) of expressways. The Singapore Area Licensing Scheme, implemented in 1975, became the world's first congestion pricing scheme, and included other complementary measures such as stringent car ownership quotas and improvements in mass transit. Upgraded in 1998 and renamed Electronic Road Pricing, the system introduced electronic toll collection, electronic detection, and video surveillance technology.
Singapore is a major international transport hub in Asia, serving some of the busiest sea and air trade routes. Changi Airport is an aviation centre for Southeast Asia and a stopover on the Kangaroo Route between Sydney and London. There are eight airports in the country, and Singapore Changi Airport hosts a network of over 100 airlines connecting Singapore to some 300 cities in about 70 countries and territories worldwide. It has been rated one of the best international airports by international travel magazines, including being rated as the world's best airport for the first time in 2006 by Skytrax. The national airline is Singapore Airlines.
The Port of Singapore, managed by port operators PSA International and Jurong Port, was the world's second-busiest port in 2005 in terms of shipping tonnage handled, at 1.15 billion gross tons, and in terms of containerised traffic, at 23.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). It is also the world's second-busiest, behind Shanghai, in terms of cargo tonnage with 423 million tons handled. In addition, the port is the worlds busiest for transshipment traffic and the world's biggest ship refueling centre.
US and Canadian passport holders (regular, official and diplomatic) do not require a visa to enter Singapore for business or social visit purposes. They must, however, meet the entry requirements stated on the ICA website. Foreigners holding travel documents issued by the following countries will require either a Business visa or Social Visit visa to enter Singapore:
A) Assessment Level 1 Applicants: Armenia* Myanmar Azerbaijan* Nigeria Belarus* Russia* Georgia People’s Republic of China India Tajikistan* Kazakhstan* Turkmenistan Kyrgyzstan* Ukraine Moldova* Uzbekistan*
- Holders of Hong Kong Document of Identity - Holders of Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) Travel Permit *Commonwealth of Independent States
B) Assessment Level 2 Applicants: Afghanistan Morocco Algeria Pakistan Bangladesh Saudi Arabia Egypt Somalia Iran Sudan Iraq Syria Jordan Tunisia Lebanon Yemen Libya - Holders of Palestinian Authority Passport - Temporary Passport issued by the United Arab Emirates - Refugee Travel Document issued by Middle-East countries
There are two ways that you can submit your visa application:
1. Submit the visa application online through a local contact in Singapore via the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority's (ICA) SAVE system at ICA's website http://www.ica.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=169&secid=166 (Note: the local contact in Singapore must be either a citizen or a Permanent Resident with a Singpass account). After ICA processes the application, your local contact can collect the visa from ICA and mail it to you. The processing time is approximately 3 business days (excluding the day of submission). OR
2. Submit the visa application at our Consulate-General in Toronto. Please prepare the following documents: - Passport with at least 6 months validity (photocopies are not accepted) - Passport-sized photograph - Photocopy of Canadian PR card OR Work/Study Permit if applicable - Duly-filled application form 14A with passport-size photo attached (Note: The application form is attached to this email for your convenience). - Flight & accommodation details - Duly-filled Letter of Invitation (LOI V39A). LOI can be furnished by a local Singaporean Citizen/Permanent Resident who is at least 21 years of age, or the applicable Embassy in Singapore. - Payment for the application fee of CAD $29 by cash (exact change is greatly appreciated). Please note that the visa processing fee is not refundable regardless of the outcome of the application Here is a link to Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority traveler’s info guide: http://www.ica.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=218&secid=90