Home Travel Coldplay, then Taylor Swift: Concert economics are driving a tourism boom in Singapore 

Coldplay, then Taylor Swift: Concert economics are driving a tourism boom in Singapore 

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Coldplay, then Taylor Swift: Concert economics are driving a tourism boom in Singapore 

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Taylor Swift performing onstage in Nashville, Tennessee.

John Shearer/tas23 | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, and now Taylor Swift. Singapore is eyeing concert economics as its new growth driver, which is set to add hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism receipts.

“The Lion City has traditionally been more a magnet for business travel, but these large-scale global music events are a boon for Singapore’s travel-related services that can add up to 10% of its GDP,” HSBC’s ASEAN economist Yun Liu wrote in a recent note.

In January, British band Coldplay performed six shows at Singapore’s National Stadium. Fans bought 200,000 tickets as the shows sold out within hours, breaking the city-state’s record for the most tickets sold by an artist in a single day. Singapore was Asia’s main stop for Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres World Tour — boosting the country’s tourism industry.

Asia-Pacific travel platform Agoda recorded a “massive surge” in search traffic for accommodations in Singapore spanning Coldplay’s concert dates. The company said interest for those dates was 8.7 times higher after the band began ticket sales in June. Agoda said the increase was driven largely by neighboring countries Malaysia and Indonesia.

And starting this weekend, Singapore will host American popstar Taylor Swift, whose Eras Tour in the U.S. last year was estimated to generate around $4.6 billion in consumer spending.

“Taylor Swift is also widely expected to generate a sizable economic boost, given her past record,” Liu added. 

If she did not have Singapore as a stop, I might not buy a ticket.

Mavis Mook

22-year-old Singaporean student

Shortly after the singer announced her concert dates in the city-state, Singapore hotel bookings for March 2024 surged 10%, data from hotel analytics company Smith Travel Research showed. Swift is scheduled to perform six shows in early March and the month is on track to hit the highest occupancy levels out of the first eight months in 2024, according to STR data.  

Demand for flights into Singapore also soared. Swift’s blockbuster tour is only traveling to three countries in Asia-Pacific: Japan, Australia and Singapore. Last week, the Singapore Tourism Board said it provided a grant to bring Swift’s Eras Tour to the country.

Both the country’s flagship carrier Singapore Airlines and budget airline Scoot told CNBC that demand for flights to Singapore in March has jumped, particularly from Southeast Asia. Jetstar Asia also confirmed it saw demand surge roughly 20% for routes connecting destinations like Bangkok, Manila, Jakarta to Singapore.

Coldplay perform onstage during the 2015 American Music Awards.

Kevin Mazur | WireImage | Getty Images

Swift’s concerts are expected to generate about 350 million to 500 million Singaporean dollars ($260.3 million to $371.9 million) in tourism receipts — assuming that around 70% of concertgoers are flying in from overseas — said Erica Tay, director of macro research at Maybank.

“If she did not have Singapore as a stop, I might not buy a ticket,” said 22-year-old Singaporean student Mavis Mook, who spent almost SG$300 ($223.38) for a Taylor Swift concert ticket.

“I want to experience this with the friends who have also grown up with me. It would be so hard to fly over together just for one concert,” she added. Mook told CNBC she spent an additional SG$150 on a concert outfit and beads for friendship bracelets, which concertgoers have swapped at every tour stop. She’s also set aside funds to buy tour merchandise.

Singapore’s reputation era

Singapore has also attracted the likes of Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Blackpink and other marquee performers. A star-studded concert slate grants Singapore a new shine as a tourism destination.

“Traditionally it’s been a MICE sector – meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions – which tended to attract affluent business travelers,” said HSBC’s Liu.

Singapore has heavy exposure to tech manufacturing and finance, but travel-related services make up 10% of the country’s GDP, she said.

Event tourism is reshaping the travel industry post-pandemic as more people are willing to fly to attend concerts or sporting events, Maybank’s Tay observed. 

Beyond the direct concert revenue, A-listers could also bring longer-lasting reputational boosts by endorsing host countries.

“Scenes of her enjoying herself in Singapore – whether it’s trying iconic dishes or checking out heritage architecture – will go a long way,” said Tay.

“If she falls in love with chicken rice, it can put the dish, and Singapore, on the map for a new audience globally.”

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