Singapore to woo Tamil movie producers

Chennai, Feb 22 (IANS) The Singapore Tourism Board on Wednesday said is planning to attract Tamil movie producers to shoot their movies in that country, as it has been several decades since a Tamil movie was produced with Singapore figuring in the story plot.

The board’s Regional Director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa, G.B. Srithar also said that the Board would also promote Singapore as a tourist destination in tier-2 Indian cities.

“After the movies ‘Ullagam Sutrum Valiban’, ‘Ninaithala Innikum’ and ‘Priya’, no popular Tamil movie was shot in Singapore. We would like to work with Tamil movie producers as part of our branded content promotion,” he said.

Srithar did not agree that the renewed focus on Tamil movie producers has anything to do with the Tamil movie “Kabali” shot in Malaysia.

He said the Singapore Tourism Board will not provide any financial incentives to the movie producers but would bear some part of the expenditure and also ease the process of getting shooting permissions.

The Board is looking at the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) segment with attractive offerings, he added.

Srithar said India ranked fourth in terms of tourist arrivals to Singapore after Indonesia, China and Malaysia last year.

Over 1.1 million Indians had visited Singapore last year and spent around Rs 5,293 crore there.

According to him, the Indian travellers rely highly on the travel agents and majority of the travellers are interested in sightseeing.

Those who are in their early stages of career are interested in shopping, food and beverage.

According to Srithar, nearly 39 per cent of the tourist receipts from the visiting Indians are towards accommodation. This shows that Indians are willing to stay in better hotels and enjoy the comforts.

India ranks at the top in the cruise tourist arrivals to Singapore, he said.

While demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes by the Indian government has not affected tourist visits to Singapore, Srithar said one of the challenges is that Indians are looking at other countries to travel.

About the Board’s 2017 India plans, Srithar said the existing partnerships will be expanded, deepened and while new partnerships will be experimented.

In order to sustain pipeline of travellers to Singapore, he said the focus will be on promoting travel to that country in tier 2 Indian cities.

The Board is targeting a total tourism receipt between (Singaporean)$ 25.1 billion to S$25.8 billion – a growth of 1-4 per cent. The number of international visitor arrivals is expected to be between 16.4 million to 16.7 million.