Singapore: On a high after big win for sports tourism


(eTN) – Singaporeans are still rejoicing at the announcement by Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Council (IOC) president, that Singapore has won the bid to host the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010 over nine other cities.

It will be the first time Singapore will be hosting a multi-disciplinary sporting event of such magnitude. “It is a new era for sports in Southeast Asia,” declared Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. “It is the first time that the Olympic flame will be in Southeast Asia and Singapore.”

Singapore is promising to go all out to welcome participants from around the world to Singapore, added Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore‚Äôs youth and sports minister. “By choosing Singapore the IOC has declared that it is possible for small young cities like Singapore to host an Olympic event.”

Delegates to the upcoming first Commonwealth Sports Tourism Conference (May 12-15) in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah will be eagerly waiting for more news from Singapore on details of its winning bid.

Through the international media, China’s CCTV successfully used every conference it attended to sell China through sports tourism as soon it won the bid to host the Beijing Olympic Games.

Over the next two and a half years, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will spend “hundreds of millions” to publicize the Games, according to a statement by STB. “The Games is expected to generate a minimum of 180,000 visitor nights for Singapore,” said a spokesman from STB. “The Games will generate more room nights than the recent IMF/World Bank conference Singapore hosted.”

According to Catherine McNabb, director of strategic clusters at STB, Singapore can expect 15,000 visitors, comprising of athletes, officials, the media and spectators coming to witness the Games. “There will be an increase of visitors in the build up to the Games between now and 2010.”

Economists estimate that Singapore’s economy received an injection of US$24 million when the country hosted the 117th IOC Session in 2005.

The private sector in Singapore, which includes hundreds of medium and small scale companies, has started to look at the marketing and sponsorship opportunities generated by hosting the event. “Singaporeans will benefit both on and off the competition arena by staging the most important sporting event in the country’s history.”

Praising Singapore’s “professionalism and enthusiasm” as the underlying reason for its success, Rogge added that Singapore has put together a very exciting bid. “I have every confidence in the Singapore team to stage a successful YOG in 2010.”

The “brainchild” of Rogge, the YOG will feature not only traditional sports athletics and swimming, but also newer popular sports including beach-wrestling and BMX bike riding.

Singapore has proposed 24 venues, which will see about 3,500 athletes competing in 26 sports. With a budget of about $75 million to stage the event, Singapore will be offering cultural and educational programs to the youths, aged between 14-18 during the Games from August 14-16.