Singapore, which relies in part on visitors from abroad for its economic prosperity, has been leading the way in the charge to pair entertainment and lifestyle sectors with sports tourism in an effort to pull even with bigger venues in Australasia such as Hong Kong, Dubai and Sydney. Last year, the city, which has a significant sports tourism infrastructure, hosted the Singapore Wine Fiesta (SWF) at the same time as the BNP Paribas Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals. The event attracted more than 129,000 fans -- 20 percent of them from overseas – to the women’s tour season-ender featuring the number one and number two players in the world, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, according to Singapore’s MediaCorp. The event sold around 58,000 tickets, with four of its 11 sessions at the 10,000-seater stadium sold out.
“Coinciding the Wine Fiesta with the women’s tennis event proved a successful formula for event organizer The Straits Wine Company,” wrote Low Lin Fhoong of Singapore’s MediaCorp for the publication TODAY. “The SWF, touted as Singapore’s largest outdoor wine fair, attracted 7,000 visitors last year, a 16.6 percent increase from 2013.”
Singapore’s $1.3 billion Sports Hub replaced the city-state’s national stadium and opened to great fanfare in June of last year when it hosted the rugby World Club 10s event, featuring rugby teams from around the world. The hub features a 55,000 capacity stadium with a retractable roof, a 12,000-seat indoor stadium, a mall, an aquatic center, a water park, an exhibition center, and a sports museum. In a recent interview with TODAY, Singapore’s Second Minister for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, said that the key to attracting sports tourists to Singapore, and in particular the Singapore Sports Hub, lies in offering a mix of sports, lifestyle and entertainment options.
“I think (sports) has an important place in the overall mix of what we have to offer,” he said. “From the STB’s (Singapore Tourism Board) and MTI’s (Ministry of Trade and Industry) perspective, we would really want to focus on events that would have not just specific appeal to the sporting segment but can be built into a larger lifestyle event, so that other segments of the market will be attracted to be involved.”
By combining sports and lifestyle events, Singapore hopes to attract a broader demographic of visitor, including families that might have a variety of interests. Next up on the city’s events calendar are September’s HSBC Women’s Champions golf tournament, the Sevens World Series rugby championship, Singapore Airlines Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix and the FINA Swimming World Cup.