In March this year, faraway tailor-made specialist Premier Holidays and the Singapore Tourism Board teamed up to fly eight travel agents to the destination and showcase what it has to offer their clients
Many travellers from the UK and Ireland choose to use Singapore as a stopover destination en route to countries further afield such as Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, but this eastern gateway offers so much more to see and do than what can be squeezed into a day or two.
This is what eight travel agents discovered on a four-day fam trip highlighting Singapore’s best agent-friendly sights, diverse culture and must-see attractions in March this year. Plus, the destination had just launched its city-wide initiative SG Clean in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, designed to encourage business owners and members of the public to raise public hygiene standards. This means certified hotels, attractions, shops and other premises can now display a SG Clean quality mark to show they’re following health protocols, and reassure visitors in the process.
With Premier Holidays being big enough to depend on and small enough to care, when booking four days or fewer in Singapore with the operator this fam trip itinerary provides a good place to start your planning.
After arriving into Singapore with Singapore Airlines, agents on the fam trip checked into the SG Clean Park Hotel Clarke Quay. Located downtown, on the Singapore River, it’s ideal for visitors keen to stay in the heart of one of the city’s vibrant entertainment districts.
Merlion Park waterfront is just a 15-minute walk from the hotel and is where tourists can set their eyes on the half-lion, half-fish statue that’s Singapore’s national icon. Be sure to advise clients to take in the views across Marina Bay before setting off to Little India to see the contemporary street art, eat in the trendy restaurants, step inside the ancient temples and buy from vendors selling spices, silk and flowers.
Not far from Little India and just moments from the Orchard Road shopping district, visitors will find the Unesco World Heritage Site of Singapore Botanic Gardens and its National Orchid Garden.
On their second day in Singapore, the agents began with a Historical Singapore Heritage Cycle Tour along the Singapore River and in the Civic District with operator Tour East. It highlighted the city’s classic landmarks, the colours of Chinatown and the mosques, carpet shops and Middle Eastern eateries of the Kampong Gelam neighbourhood.
One agent on the fam trip, Lauren Coddington from Central England Cooperative Travel, shares her experiences.
What was the journey like?
We flew to Singapore on the A380, which was a great experience, and came home on the 777-300ER. The Singapore Airlines cabin crew were so helpful and so polite both on the way there and back. I sat in economy both ways and found there’s plenty of in-flight entertainment and lovely refreshments.
What surprised you most about Singapore?
Rich in heritage and proudly encompassing a multitude of cultures and nationalities, this vibrant city offers an opulent taste of the Far East, and is an ideal gateway to Asia’s varied destinations. There’s not only an abundance of top attractions within the city’s main areas but also hundreds of hidden gems to discover off the beaten track, from the hip and trendy Tiong Bahru district to the island of Pulau Ubin, where I felt like I’d gone back in time.
What’s your top tip for selling Singapore with Premier Holidays?
I have only booked stopovers in Singapore for clients in the past, but after my experience there I will definitely recommend clients spend much longer in the destination to really explore the city. There is so much to see and do! Personally, I’d suggest they stay for at least three nights in order to see the main attractions.
Gardens by the Bay – a 101-hectare space featuring two conservatories: the Flower Dome, which houses floral art and plants from five continents, and the Cloud Forest, home to a breathtaking indoor waterfall – is a must-visit for any client spending time in Singapore. Also home to the iconic Supertree Grove and 22-metre-high OCBC Skyway, this attraction is best visited after dark when it comes alive with its daily charge-free Garden Rhapsody light show.
Heading to the south of the city agents were able to step foot on the sunny Sentosa Island, which is home to exciting events, themed attractions, serene spas, lush rainforests, golden sandy beaches and resort-style hotels. Its top attractions include Universal Studios, Adventure Cove Waterpark, the Skyline Luge Sentosa ride and the MegaZip zip-line, so the island is a hotspot for families with younger children. Riding a cable car from Siloso Point to Imbiah is also an option for those spending a day on the island.
Clients with an extra day in Singapore would do well to spend it in Chinatown, tasting meals by Michelin-starred chefs and devouring street eats, as well as taking respite from the hustle and bustle of the city in the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.
Throughout the fam trip, the agents also visited a number of trade-friendly hotels in the city for site visits, breakfasts, lunches and dinners. These properties included Shangri-La Singapore, Park Royal Collection Pickering, Hotel Jen Sanglin, Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa, Mandarin Orchard, Marina Bay Sands and Raffles Singapore.