Wellness will be key component of Singapore's tourism offerings in next 5 to 10 years: STB chief

SINGAPORE – Wellness will be a key part of Singapore’s tourism offerings in the next five to 10 years, and events like the inaugural Wellness Festival will help kick-start this movement, said Singapore Tourism Board (STB) chief executive Keith Tan on Friday (June 3).

But to build Singapore’s reputation in that field, domestic demand will also have to be built up and factored in, he added.

Mr Tan was speaking on a panel about shaping Singapore as an urban wellness haven at the Wellness Symposium, held at Gardens by the Bay.

The symposium, organised by Enterprise Singapore, brought together business leaders, industry experts and professionals to share insights on the market opportunities and consumer demand in spiritual, mental and preventive health.

“Singapore is not known as a wellness destination and, frankly, if you ask a lot of locals, they don’t associate Singapore with (that). But when you survey the landscape and see what’s out there (with) companies that provide wellness solutions, there’s a lot available that’s underappreciated and not well known,” he said.

Mr Tan cited Singapore’s reputation as a foodie destination, where visitors can get a plethora of options, whether it costs $5, $50 or $500.

“I see that for the wellness sector too, where we are on this journey… It’s not quite at the same stature where food is, but we can get there,” he said.

He added that this will require the joint efforts of the industry and government agencies, so that in five to 10 years’ time, Singapore will be known not just for its food and attractions, but also for its wellness offerings.

“(But) Singapore cannot establish a reputation as an urban wellness destination if we don’t have a baseline of domestic advocates and domestic demand… (Hence) it’s crucial that we build something that appeals to locals because, without it, it would be an inauthentic experience for foreigners,” he said.

The other panellists were Mr Aaron Boey, traditional Chinese medicine giant Eu Yan Sang’s chief executive; Ms Fiona Tan, wellness brand Como Shambhala Group’s general manager; and Ms Summer Song, founder of cultural experience creators Cultured Generation. The session was moderated by McKinsey & Company senior partner Diaan-Yi Lin.

The 10-day Wellness Festival – which runs from Friday to June 12 and has more than 130 free and ticketed activities islandwide – is among the first steps in making Singapore’s wellness offerings more easily discoverable by locals and visitors.

Organised by STB, the festival features everything from forest bathing at Jewel Changi Airport to equine therapy with horses at the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre, to yoga on the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck.

There are also several large-scale attractions such as The Wellness Sensorium, a multi-sensory pop-up experience at The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay, which will have six zones with activities like stone stacking, and a light-and-sound bath to induce a state of calm.


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