Middle East visitors flock to Singapore for New Year

Guest Writer

Dubai, United Arab Emirate: Middle East visitors are expected to flock to Singapore this February, to enjoy the spectacular Chinese New Year celebrations the tropical island will be putting on to welcome 2010, which is the year of the Tiger, according to the Chinese astrological calendar. 

Last year saw the number of regional visitors to Singapore increase by 4.3 percent during the six-week long festival that reflects China’s rich traditions and culture - with significant increases in travellers from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, which rose 29.9 percent, 21.1 percent, and 9.8 percent respectively.

On the back of 2009’s growth figures, Singapore Tourism Board is anticipating even more visitors from the Middle East will decide to experience Singapore’s pulsating New Year celebrations this year, which are running from 20 January to 7 March across the city.

“With new developments opening in Singapore, such as our first integrated resort - Resorts World Sentosa, this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations are set to top all previous years. As a result we are anticipating even more visitors from the Middle East will join us in celebrating Singapore’s rich multi-cultural heritage,” said Jason Ong, Area Director Middle East & Africa, Singapore Tourism Board.

“Historic Chinatown’s streets will be lit up with Chinese-style lanterns and large-scale installations of Chinese mythical characters, and the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, including the Tiger, which is the symbol of the lunar year 2010.”

“Visitors will be able to mingle with locals in the streets and enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere created by Chinese performers, and street-stalls serving traditional snacks, and New Year themed handicrafts, which make memorable souvenirs. For travellers who really want to experience a different culture, a trip to Singapore during the Chinese New Year festivities is an absolute must,” Ong concluded. 

A must-see is the annual New Year Light-Up in Singapore’s Chinatown, which attracts thousands of foreign visitors and locals every year. For 2010, the theme is ‘Celebration of Spring’ that will see a stretch of Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road decorated with giant cherry blossom trees to create a festive spring atmosphere.  

Other special events include, the rousing Chingay Street Parade which will see brightly decorated floats follow the Marina Bay Formula 1 street circuit around the city, while China’s traditional Lion Dance will be celebrated with an international competition involving 10 troupes from six countries across Asia.

And in its 24th year, the annual River Hongbao celebrations - held on a floating platform in Marina Bay - will once again entrance and educate visitors with its rich display of traditional Chinese musical arts, where  local performers and guest artists from Chengdu, China, will perform beautiful song and dance displays from China’s past.

ENDS

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