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The Tourist System and Singapore

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The Tourist System and Singapore

In this essay I will discuss how the development of travel has
impacted Singapore as a tourist destination. I will identify the
factors that have assisted in the development of tourism within
Singapore and the elements of Leiper’s (1990) Basic Whole Tourist
System. I will also discuss the roles the Singapore Tourism Board
(STB) undertake to develop Singapore as a destination.

Singapore is a unique city that attracts various tourists from young
to old, appealing to all generations and interests. The city is
dynamic with various cultures, cuisine, art and architecture. “A
Single day’s trails will take you from the past to the future, from a
colourful ethnic enclave to an efficient business centre, from serene
gardens to sleek skyscrapers.” ( Singapore is
truly a city like no other, a world of possibilities. Its warm and
friendly people make tourists feel welcome along with its state of the
art infrastructure. With Singapore being a stop over point on long
haul flights to Asia or Australia from Europe or the Americas, the
tourism within Singapore has been increasing as the flights have been
increasing. Many airlines now offer special package deals on stop over
holidays in Singapore.

In 1964 Singapore’s Tourist Promotion Board was established with the
mandate to promote Singapore as a tourist destination. That year they
began working with a small staff strength of twenty five workers, that
year they welcomed 91,000 visitors to Singapore. During the 1980’s the
implementation of $1 billion Tourism Product Development Plan, which
called for the saving of the historic districts. On November 19th 1997
the board entered a new era of growth and unveiled its new and current
name, the Singapore Tourism Board. The overall objective of the STB is
to achieve strong brand recognition among traveller and position
Singapore as a premier travel destination around the world. The
“...mission of the board is to develop and champion tourism, so as to
build the sector into a key driver of economic growth.” (

Destination development has been occurring within Singapore for the
past forty years, still achieving their goal each year of increasing
tourist-generated revenue. Singapore remains one of the top
destinations to visit in Asia and Internationally. There have been
many awards won by Singapore such as the Destination of the Year award
at TTG Asia Travel Awards 2001. The awards won have increased over the
past 3 years, with Singapore now holding annual international events.

The factors that have assisted in the development of tourism in
Singapore are basically the things that attract people, or motivations
to visit the area. There is currently a web site (
which advertises Singapore to potential tourists. This web site has
its own links to certain regions where people can find general
information upon travelling to Singapore along with other tourist’s
opinions. There is a UK version of this web site as the United Kingdom
is one of the main generators of tourism within Singapore. (

Components of Leiper’s system in Singapore include:

The tourism system is best described by Leiper's basic tourism system,
where three geographical regions are identified in his model, these

§ Traveller generating regions

§ Tourist destination regions

§ Transit route regions

He devised the plan that to construct a 'Basic Whole Tourist System'
there must be at least, one tourist, one tourist generating region,
one transit region, one receiving region and a travel and tourism
industry that takes measures to allow for the circulation and the
activities of the tourist within the three geographical regions
(Leiper 1995). A closer look at the three geographical regions shows
that the traveller generating region is the places, or market, that
the tourists and tourism is coming from, it can provide the 'push'
factors that motivate people to travel. It is from the region, people
will research information on the destinations, make the booking and
depart. The tourist destination area is where the tourist is a
tourist, this is where the tourism takes place, it is at the
destination that the managers put their plans and strategies into
effect. The 'pull' factor of the destination, which varies from place
to place, is what creates the demand for the travellers to that
region. The transit route region is all the places visited on the way
as well as going form A- the traveller-generating region to B- the
tourist destination region. (Cooper et al 1993). This goes to show
that without one part of the system, the whole system would not work.

The main Traveller Generating Regions of Singapore are Europe, OCEANIA
(Australasia) and the ASEAN islands (Indonesia, Philippines, and
Brunei). The STB state that the UK is Singapore’s largest European
market, “...accounting for 41.6% of arrivals from Europe to Singapore
in 2002.” The Oceania region “...has recorded a healthy average annual
growth rate of 4.1% over the past ten years (1993-2002).” (
Business Tourism accounts for 30% of all international tourism,
Singapore is a country that thrives on the business aspect of tourism.

The Singapore Tourism Board have implemented plans to target certain
regions with low travel to Singapore, areas such as the Americas,
ASEAN mainland (Malaysia, Thailand and IndoChina), Japan and Korea and
China. These regions generate tourists within Singapore but the amount
is not in the same league as tourists generating from Europe.

The Tourist Destination Region

As Singapore is quite a small country, there is mainly one region, the
city itself. There are many flows of tourism attracted to Singapore,
many people will visit it as a stop over location. Young people are
now travelling around Southeast Asia (Multiple Destination area loop).
The tourist destination region can represent the end of tourism. “The
destination too is the raison d’etre for tourism, with a range of
special places distinguished from the everyday by their cultural,
historic or natural significance” (Rojek and Urry, 1997).

The Transit Route

The transit route does not only represent the period of travel to
reach the destination but also includes the destinations that may be
visited during your stay. “There is always an interval in a trip when
the traveller feels they have left their home region but have not yet
arrived... [where] they choose to visit” (Leiper, 1990, p. 22).

The STB is tapping on the opportunities presented by the emergence of
a low cost carrier and more affordable air travel to attract more
visitors by promoting Singapore as a fun getaway all year round. With
more affordable air fares and ease of travel, business and leisure
travellers within the region of Asia and beyond can now visit
Singapore more often.

In conclusion I now have knowledge of how Leiper’s Basic Whole Tourist
‘System’ aids in the development of a destination such as Singapore.
Throughout my study in this area I have looked at factors that have
assisted in the development of tourism, the theory of destination
development and how the components of the ‘system’ work in the region
of Singapore.


¨ Cooper, C. Fletcher, J. Gilbert, D. Wanhill, S. (1993) Tourism
Principles and Practice, Longman, Essex.

¨ Leiper, N. (1995) Tourism Managment, RNIT press.

¨ Urry, J.(2002) The Tourist Gaze, 2nd Edition, Sage, London.

¨ Rojek and Urry, (1997) - Cooper, C. Fletcher, J. Gilbert, D.
Wanhill, S. (1993) Tourism Principles and Practice, Longman, Essex.

¨ David Weaver & Martin Oppermann, 2000, Tourism Management.

Web sites used:




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"The Tourist System and Singapore." 20 Apr 2014

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