S’pore economy gets boost from shows by stars like Taylor Swift, Coldplay and Jacky Cheung
Taylor Swift’s fans – both here and in the region – are now in a frenzy over securing tickets for her three shows in Singapore in March 2024. Among them is Malaysian Nicole Ng, 26, who plans to spend three days and two nights here with friends.
It will be Ms Ng’s first concert in Singapore, and first time she is watching her idol perform live.
“Given that this is a rare chance to watch her live, I’m not exactly setting a budget,” said Ms Ng, who calls herself a “diehard Swiftie for as long as I can remember”.
“I’m flying in from Kuala Lumpur because Singapore is likely the only place I can afford to go to among all her tour locations,” added Ms Ng, who is in between jobs.
Singapore is the only Asian stop outside of Japan for Ms Swift’s The Eras Tour, with tickets from $108.
More than 200,000 fans are expected to attend the American superstar’s shows here – and the economy can expect a boost from those who make their way here.
The local tourism sector also stands to get a booster shot from six shows by Coldplay in January 2024.
Malaysian Julian Fernandez, for example, planned to fly in but all the tickets had been snapped up.
The 42-year-old director of communications previously watched rock bands Foo Fighters and U2 perform in Singapore, spending between RM3,000 (S$870) and RM5,000 for each trip. As at Friday, the Malaysian currency is RM3.46 against the Singapore dollar.
Asian fans are also flocking to Singapore for Jacky Cheung 60+ Concert Tour at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in July. The “God of Songs” is the first artiste to hold nine shows – all sold-out – at the venue.
Show promoter Unusual Entertainment’s assistant marketing director, Ms Koh San Chin, said the good response was expected, given that his previous concert tours were consistently sold out globally.
Singapore looks poised to become a leading Asian destination for entertainment, industry observers say.
Digital travel platform Agoda has observed an 8.7-time search increase for accommodations in Singapore during Coldplay’s concert series in January 2024. Besides fans from nearby Indonesia and Malaysia, Singapore can also expect more travellers from Hong Kong, Thailand, the United States, Australia, Vietnam, India, the Philippines and many other markets, it said.
Agoda added that the significant upswing demonstrates the “undeniable power of music as a major travel motivator”.
Singapore is the main stop in Asia during Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres World Tour.
“Music inspires a great deal of passion, and dedicated fans are truly remarkable as they will travel far and wide to see their favourite acts live,” said Mr Enric Casals, regional associate vice-president of South-east Asia at Agoda.
“This spike in accommodation bookings is a testament to the undeniable lure of live musical experiences, showcasing the profound impact they have on travel decisions.”
Ms Ashlynn Loo, director for attractions, entertainment and tourism concept development at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said the board works closely with event organisers to add vibrancy to the tourism landscape and reinforce the Republic’s position as a leading leisure destination.
“Singapore’s strategic location as the gateway to South-east Asia and strong fundamentals – our excellent infrastructure, good connectivity to the region, vibrant business culture and stellar track record in delivering high-quality events – make us an ideal destination for hosting events,” she added.
“These world-class live entertainment acts are complemented by our strong line-up of lifestyle offerings and unique experiences that cater to locals and visitors of all ages and interests.”
Singapore Sports Hub said market forces and pent-up demand built up over the last few pandemic years are driving the return of live events.
It has lined up upcoming shows by Taiwanese songstress A-mei, K-pop group Twice, American singer Charlie Puth and international sporting events.
Kallang Alive Sport Management (KASM), which manages the Singapore Sports Hub, said it is broadening offerings with “Only-in-Singapore” events across sports, lifestyle and entertainment.
KASM chairman Keith Magnus said the choice of the Singapore Sports Hub as the venue for Ms Swift’s concerts is a landmark endorsement of its position as a leading Asian destination for entertainment.
It also signals to the entertainment world that performing in Singapore is tantamount to performing in all of Asia, he added.
“We look forward to Kallang roaring with Taylor Swift as we continue to curate both world-class and community events alike to bring ‘Kallang Alive’ – where Singapore and the world come to play,” he said.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said in a past Sports Hub release: “Since the Government took over the reins of the Singapore Sports Hub in December 2022, the KASM team has actively curated a portfolio of world-class marquee events.”
He added: “Taylor Swift’s only-in-Singapore concert outside of Japan is an example of the calibre of events we are targeting to augment our offerings to Singaporeans and tourists alike.”
Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the official presenting partner for Ms Swift’s concerts here, will be unveiling packages that offer a “once-in-a-lifetime escapade combining the concert experience with exclusive hospitality”.
Its spokesman said that in the last two years, MBS has ramped up efforts to grow its entertainment offerings.
Its Sands Live concert series has seen several sold-out shows headlined by artistes from Asia and beyond, including Chinese stars Joey Yung and Hacken Lee, with more than 6,000 fans in attendance at each performance.
Under this series, MBS also brought in Korean heavyweights Rain and Psy, as well as Chinese hip-hop stars Gai, Melo, PSY.P and KnowKnow.
MBS recently announced its inaugural music festival Where Music Takes Over, featuring names such as Mandopop singer David Tao, English pop sensation Ellie Goulding, Colombian singer, songwriter and music producer J Balvin, Chinese singer and rapper Kun, American rapper A$AP Ferg, and American DJ and producer Gryffin.
The event, which will run from July 15 to Aug 2, also sees MBS collaborating with music promoter Live Nation to showcase additional artistes such as The 1975, The Strokes, Rini and Sabrina Carpenter.
“Post-Covid-19, we have observed that tourists are staying longer and spending more as they seek out more premium experiences, including entertainment events,” said the MBS spokesman.
“They are also engaging Singapore in a different way by exploring more of what the nation has to offer. All these bode well for the industry as it kicks into recovery gear.”
Retailers should also leverage the popularity of these concerts, said Ms Rose Tong, executive director of the Singapore Retailers Association.
She urged those that operate near the concert venues to stay open till late. They can promote pre-show and post-show offers, meals and drinks on social media or their websites, or tie up with show promoters.
STB can also help publicise retailers’ offers on its Visit Singapore website, she added.
Meanwhile, even as foreign concertgoers are exchanging tips on social media for their upcoming visits, some local fans are wary of the competition for the limited tickets.
Part-time polytechnic student Alloysius Teo said: “I feel really stressed that Singapore is the only stop in South-east Asia for the Taylor Swift concert. I will be using multiple devices to queue for the tickets.”
However, the 25-year-old conceded: “On the other hand, I guess we should still welcome the overseas fans as they will boost our economy.”