Singapore warmly welcomed the 74-Chinese tour group, the single biggest since the earlier ban by Beijing due to the SARS crisis in the region.
These 74 Chinese tourists from Guangzhou set foot on land of the city state amidst the welcoming celebrations of lion dance, orchid garlands, and goodie bag.
The celebration is part of the pilot program aiming to attract more tourists to the city state. China is Singapore's third-largest tourist market after Indonesia and Japan. However, at the height of the SARS outbreak in the city state, China imposed a ban on travel to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in mid-April to cubs the spread of the virus. It lifted the ban for Beijing residents on May 27 and for all Chinese in 9 July.
Despite the lifted ban, a number of arrivals to Singapore did not reach a satisfactory level, prompting the Singapore Tourism Board to launch the campaign to enforce tourism boosting. A six-month pilot program which permits individual tourists from China an exemption of security deposit was then introduced. The program also saves tourists from annoyance and time wasting going to the Republic's Embassy or consulates to apply for a visa.
As a result, visitors from China rose 51 percent this month to 17,000, and China could well outpace Japan as the second largest in terms of tourist arrivals. The recent increasing arrivals of visitor are expected to continue through the rest of the year.
Updated : 23-03-2011 02:11:08
Source : Travel Singapore.com