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Malaysia

STB
Market
Insights

This publication STB Market Insights serves as a reference to the trends of specific inbound
tourism markets to Singapore. All information in this publication is deemed to be correct at time
of publication.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the data in this report, the Singapore
Tourism Board (STB) shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused by or arising from the use
of the data in this publication. Data derived from surveys cited is subject to sampling error. Users
are advised to exercise discretion when drawing any conclusion or inferences, or taking any
action, based on the data.
STB makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness
of any information contained in this document. Appropriate professional advice should be
obtained before relying on or acting on any of the information contained in this document, and
neither STB nor any of its officers, employees or agents shall be held liable for any loss or
damage, whether direct or indirect, as a result of any improper or incorrect use of the information
in this document.

Consumer Research & Insights


Research & Incentives Division
stb_cri@stb.gov.sg

2014 Singapore Tourism Board.


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission
of STB, or as otherwise permitted herein.
Contents of this report may be reproduced accurately in part in other publications if STB is acknowledged and attributed
as copyright owner.

Month of Publication: April 2014

STB Market Insights Malaysia

Contents
Executive Summary ....................................................................................................................................5
About The Market ...................................................................................................................................... 6
The Malaysian Traveller ........................................................................................................................... 7
Transformation of the Malaysian Aviation Landscape..7
Media Consumption Habits .................................................................................................................... 8
Malaysia Visitors to Singapore .................................................................................................................. 10
Malaysia Visitor to Singapore ................................................................................................................ 11
Malaysia Visitor's Expenditure While in Singapore................................................................................. 11
The Leisure Traveller from Malaysia .......................................................................................................... 12
General Needs of the Leisure Traveller from Malaysia ........................................................................... 12
General Considerations for Travel ......................................................................................................... 12
General Decision Making Process .......................................................................................................... 12
Role of travel agents .............................................................................................................................. 13
Specific travelling behaviour to Singapore ............................................................................................ 13
Leisure Traveller in Singapore ................................................................................................................... 13
Leisure Activities in Singapore............................................................................................................... 14
Arts and Entertainment ..15
Barriers to Visiting Singapore ................................................................................................................ 15
BTMICE Traveller in Singapore .................................................................................................................. 15
The BTMICE Traveller from Malaysia .................................................................................................... 16
Key Findings .............................................................................................................................................. 17
Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................. 19

STB Market Insights Malaysia

Executive Summary
Malaysia contributes 8.5% of the total number of international visitors to Singapore annually and was the
3rd largest market to Singapore in 2012 in terms of visitor arrivals. Despite the global economic slowdown
in the second half of 2011, outbound travel from Malaysia remains strong with more than 9 million trips
made in 2012.
Visitor arrivals from Malaysia to Singapore grew strongly with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of
9% over the period 2010-2012. The growth in visitor arrivals from Malaysia coincided with the opening of
air routes between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to Low-cost Carriers (LCC). So popular were the LCCs
that they overtook Full Service Carriers (FSC) as the choice mode of air travel to Singapore since 2009.
In general, travel is seen as an excellent opportunity to escape from the mundane work and everyday life.
Travelling is also seen to provide the thrill of experiencing dierent cultures, food and places and to learn
new things. However, due to the cultural similarities between Malaysia and Singapore, many Malaysians
view Singapore as an extension of their lifestyle rather than a holiday destination.
The top considerations when visitors from Malaysia plan for a holiday are travel budget and the
availability of travel promotions. Due to these travel promotions by airlines, Malaysians generally plan
their trip in advance to take advantage of the low fares. In the case of Malaysian travellers to Singapore,
travel promotions have little impact as the trigger for travelling to Singapore is not the destination itself
but for a very specic reason such as an event that is taking place only in Singapore or even to visit family
or friends. In addition, close proximity between the two countries coupled with the familiarity further
reduces the need to plan in advance.
The proliferation of the Internet has also changed the way visitors from Malaysia plan and book their trips
as they now use the internet to get ideas and information for travel destinations and activities. This is
especially so for Malaysians when they travel to Singapore, as there is a strong reliance on online sources,
particularly social media, for recommendations and places to visit.

Methodology of STB Primary Research Sources


Figures from this report are gathered from STB internal research as well as publicly available sources. The STBs research sources
are STBs Overseas Visitors Survey (OVS), as well as various interviews and focus groups done.
Overseas Visitors Survey (OVS) conducted annually at exit points in Singapore, the OVS covers visitors from every nationality.
The sample size is usually around 28,000 per year.
Arts and Entertainment Survey Conducted in 2013 across Malaysia and Indonesia, the survey seeks to understand the A&E
consumers and their perception of Singapore as an arts and entertainment centre.

STB Market Insights Malaysia

About The Market


Population (million)

(1)

Major Cities Population

29.5 (2012)

(2)

Outbound Travel (million)

(3)

Top 5 Travel Destinations


in 2012 (million) (3)

* Includes land arrivals

STB Market Insights Malaysia

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Selangor: 5.46 million


Johor: 3.35 million
Sabah: 3.21 million
Sarawak: 2.47 million
Perak: 2.35 million

2009:
2010:
2011:
2012:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

6.7
8.0
8.8
9.1

Thailand:
Indonesia:
China:
Singapore:
Hong Kong:

2.55*
1.33
1.24
1.23
0.63

The Malaysian Traveller


Malaysians continue to show high propensity to travel
outside the country, posting a CAGR of 6.5% in the number
of trips made between 2010 and 2012, with more than 9
million trips made in 2012. Travel by Malaysians is aided by
passport holders enjoying visa-free travel to many countries
and Malaysians having one of the highest number of public
holidays in the world (Some public holidays are federally
gazetted while some are observed by individual states), 16 in
addition to the 16 days of annual leave they typically enjoy.(4)

>9 Million Trips

Outbound travel remains mainly within the Asia pacific


region. The top 5 destinations of Thailand, Indonesia, China,
Singapore and Hong Kong make up about three quarters of
Malaysias total outbound travel.

Top travel destinations with


strongest growth (2010-2012)

were made in 2012


Top three travel destinations
made in 2012 were

Thailand, China
Indonesia

&

Korea, Philippines
& Vietnam

Travel trends from 2010 to 2012 amongst the top outbound


countries show that markets such as Korea, Philippines and Vietnam have posted the strongest
growth in visitor arrivals from Malaysia with CAGR of at least 18%. (3) As Malaysians accumulate
more travel experience and affluence, there has been increased travel to mid and long haul
destinations such as Australia and Europe.

Transformation of the Malaysia Aviation Landscape


Looking within the Southeast Asia aviation market, Malaysia has the third largest outbound seat
capacity with an estimated 830,000 seats per week departing from Malaysia. Malaysia is the base of
one of the biggest LCCs in the region AirAsia. Such was the projected demand for LCC travel that
the Malaysia government decided to build another terminal in Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur
International Airport 2 (KLIA2) to accommodate the expected increase in LCC flights. The new
KLIA2, projected to commence operations in 2014, is expected to handle another 45 million
travellers.
Since 2002, LCCs have been gaining popularity amongst Malaysians. Along with increased affluence
and growing aspirations, LCCs have not only helped create more opportunities for travel but also
opened new route networks to cover more destinations at a lower cost. A trend is also observed for
short to mid haul destinations where the Malaysian traveller is seen to forgo comfort for low fares.
All in all, LCCs have allowed travellers to make more frequent trips as the cost per trip has
decreased and also expanded the potential pool of travellers from Malaysia.
With the strong demand for LCCs, there are now more budget carriers increasing flights between
Malaysia and Singapore. For example, JetStar Asia more than doubled the number of weekly return
flights for the KL-SIN route from 25 to 61. Another budget carrier Firefly also launched a direct flight
from Kota Bahru to Singapore, allowing them market penetration into the eastern part of Peninsula
Malaysia.

STB Market Insights Malaysia

In view of the growing LCC market share, FSCs are also stepping up their game, focusing more on
long haul markets. There is also optimism with Malaysias aviation market with re-entries by FSCs
such as Turkish Airlines and Air France.

Media Consumption Habits


Malaysians are heavy consumers of media, with an
average of 8 hours spent per day on different media
channels. Whilst TV, newspaper and radio continue to
maintain high levels of use, it is observed that there is
an increased shift towards more interactive platforms
such as mobile internet and satellite TV. Consumers are
also seen to use multiple platforms (TV, PC and mobile)
at the same time. (5)
There are about 19.2 million internet users in Malaysia,
translating to a penetration rate of more than 60%. In
addition, 81% of the Malaysian online population is
engaged in some form of social networking.
Interestingly, we see that Malaysias social networkers
have an average of 233 social media friends, the highest
in the world. (6)

8 hours
Average time spent per day on
different media channels

19.2 million Internet users


or a penetration rate of 68%

233 social media


friends
The highest in the world.

141.6% Mobile penetration


rate in Malaysia

Social networking usage in Malaysia has seen a great increase in the last few years, growing by
106% from 2010 to 2013. The group which posted the largest growth was from 35-49 years old, with
an increase of 250% (7). Amongst the different social media platforms, Facebook comes up tops
followed by Youtube, Blogger.com, Twitter and Instagram. Malaysians love for travel can also be
seen with AirAsia being the top local brand being followed on Twitter with more than 900,000
followers within Malaysia as well as having more than 1.4m local fans on their Facebook page.(8)
The high internet penetration, along with a love for social media has also played a role in how
Malaysians plan their travels. Currently, Malaysians display greater propensity (51% as compared to
the global average of 26%) to using social media platforms to get ideas and inspiration for travel
destinations. They also make use of social media platforms to help them in their planning process of
activities (44%), attractions (44%), accommodation (39%) and restaurants (36%). When probed,
most have shifted online to make their bookings because it is seen to be quick, convenient and
hassle free. Even when they travel, 3 in 4 Malaysians also use travel applications on their
smartphones/tablets. This is aided by the Maxis overseas data plan which only charges about RM33
a day for unlimited data when they travel to certain destinations such as Singapore, Thailand, etc.
The mobile penetration rate in Malaysia as at 2012 was 142.5%, meaning on average each person
carries more than 1 mobile phone. Interestingly, we see that mobile devices used in various
scenarios throughout the day such as while waiting (50%), while lying in bed (47%) and also while
watching TV(28%).(9) Within Malaysia, the majority of news, gaming (playing of online games) and
auto sites see a large proportion of their audiences accessing from their mobile devices.

STB Market Insights Malaysia

Traditional media in general faces the challenge of declining subscription and usage even though
their base remains high. Newspapers for example, are evolving to retain readership. The New Straits
Time had a special issue with 3D content while another issue had a talking paper edition. Television
channels are also exploring other ways to expand their reach. For example, Astro launched its
On-the-go package to allow users to watch shows via their computers, mobile and tablets.

STB Market Insights Malaysia

Malaysia Visitors to Singapore


ther

2010

29%

31%

$767
5%
12%

Tourism Receipts per


capita ($) ***

Top 5 Cities of Origin

10

1,231

23%

29%

31%

31%

$893
5%
11%

31%

$962

25%

Others
Transport

F&B
Accom.

5%
10%

24%

Shopping

783

781

23
16

22
17

22
22

41

37

36

BT/MICE

19

24

20

Holiday

739

Purpose of Visits (%)

Weekly Flight Statistics


(Flight Freq. / Seat
Capacity) (19)

2012

1,140

1,037

Visitor Arrivals (000) *

Tourism Receipts
($mil/%) **

2011

63,758

61,607

Others

VFR

70,405

456

397

404

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Penang

Penang

Sarawak

Sarawak

Sarawak

Penang

Sabah

Sabah

Sabah

Kelantan

Selangor

Ipoh

STB Market Insights Malaysia

* All visitors are classied by country of residence unless otherwise stated. Visitor arrivals include all visitors arriving by air and sea and non-Malaysian citizens arriving by land.
** Sightseeing, entertainment and gaming expenditure has been excluded from tourism receipts in the country breakdown due to commercial sensitivity of information.
*** Other TR Components include expenditure on airfares, port taxes, local transportation, business, medical, education and transit visitors.

Malaysia Visitor to Singapore


Malaysia is the 3rd largest market in terms of visitor arrivals to Singapore in 2012 after Indonesia and
China. The number of visitors from Malaysia arriving in Singapore by air has been growing steadily
at 9% CAGR from 2010 to 2012,(10) outperforming the growth in total Malaysia outbound traffic over
the same period (6.5% CAGR).(3) Most air arrivals from Malaysia to Singapore were for leisure
purposes with business being the second most cited purpose of visit. This is aligned with the global
average whereby leisure forms the main bulk of arrivals.
There is strong air connectivity between Singapore and Malaysia with about 3.6 million seats
available in a year. In fact, the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route is the busiest route to depart from
Kuala Lumpur. However, competition from Thailand, Indonesia and China for the visitor from
Malaysia remains intense.
Looking at data from 2010 to 2012, tourism receipts from Malaysias visitors continue to grow (12%
CAGR over 2010-2012), in line with the growth observed in visitor arrivals (9% CAGR over 20102012).

Malaysia Visitors Expenditure While in Singapore


The two main components of expenditure of a
Top 5 Shopping
Malaysia visitor to Singapore were shopping (31%)
Expenditure in
and accommodation (24%). Past focus group
Singapore for 2012
research done in Malaysia (11) revealed that
shopping was preferred in Singapore due to
1. Fashion and accessories
authenticity of products, and access to the most
2. Genuine Jewellery
updated range of products. For example, visitors
3. Confectionary and Food items
are likely to purchase genuine jewellery during their
4. Consumer Technology and Gifts
trip to Singapore; while in the case of IT
products/luxury goods, the latest products are
5. Cosmetics, Perfumes and
usually launched in Singapore first before being
toiletries
made available in Malaysia. As shared by
respondents during a focus group discussion, Some products / brands (that are found in Singapore)
are not available in KL. In recent times, there is also a rising trend to seek Singapore brands.
Another major component of expenditure goes to accommodation. Although there is a higher
proportion of visitors from Malaysia who would stay with their friends and relatives when they visit
Singapore (32%) compared to visitors from other countries (18%), accommodation is still one of the
main expenses as the average hotel room rates in Singapore had risen from S$212 in 2010 to S$260
in 2012. (13)

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STB Market Insights Malaysia

The Leisure Traveller from Malaysia


General Needs of the Leisure Traveller from Malaysia
Based on focus groups research done in 2012, (11) the general leisure traveller from Malaysia travels
to escape from mundane work and everyday life. As shared by respondents during a focus group
discussion I work in a stressful environment and vacation can really make me feel recharged. Other
reasons for travelling include the thrill of experiencing different cultures, food and places and
learning new things It is exposure of knowledge for my kids.
When they travel, they would normally combine sightseeing along with tasting local food and
embracing local cultures. Ladies would also typically include shopping in their agenda while families
tend to have a more family oriented itinerary which focuses on activities such as visiting theme
parks or the zoo.
Travelling within the year is usually split between overseas and domestic travel. A standard duration
for most vacations is 1 week unless it is to further destinations such as Europe or USA whereby trip
durations could stretch to about 2 weeks. Travelling is usually done during year end to experience
Christmas and New Year overseas, although travel companions also play a major role in the
destination consideration and period of travel.

General Considerations for Travel


The top considerations when visitors from Malaysia plan for a holiday are travel budget and the
availability of travel promotion. However, this does not mean that visitors from Malaysia always
pick the cheapest options but rather, being more savvy travellers, they look for the option that gives
them the best value for money. In fact, LCCs have molded planning and booking behavior as air
tickets have to be purchased way in advance to be entitled to special fares. Another possible
consideration is they tend to travel with extended family and would be careful with the expenditure
during the trip.
Muslim travellers will take into consideration their religious concerns such as the availability of halal
food and praying facilities.

General Decision making process


The decision making process towards travel for a visitor from Malaysia can be mainly spilt into four
key stages. Firstly, most travel decisions are triggered by promotions. Awareness of such
promotions could come from fairs such as the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents
(MATTA) fair or through online channels such as the Air Asia sale. The MATTA Fair 2013, for
example had more than 1,000 travel booths providing visitors a wide range of travel destinations to
choose from.
Secondly, once they are aware of an ongoing promotion, the next step is to consider the price of the
trip and map against their travel budget. A destination will be decided once the price of the trip and
the budget match.

12

STB Market Insights Malaysia

The third step, after the destination is confirmed is to firm up the date and make bookings either
online or via a travel agent. Finally, there will be more intensive research on the destination. This
can entail possible places for accommodation and places of interest which is usually done on sites
such as tripadvisor, blogs, Facebook, guide books, TV programs like Lonely Planet.
While the four key stages typically represents a Malaysians decision making process towards travel,
other factors such as travel companion, word-of-mouth, media such as travelogues, and pictures
posted by friends via social media like Facebook could also influence travel decisions.
On average, the duration of planning varies between different individuals but generally most
require at least 2 4 months of planning for a short haul trip and up to 6 months for the planning of
a long haul trip.

Role of Travel agents


Despite the lure of online booking, travel agents still maintain their relevance in the market. Travel
agents still appeal to the older travellers because they are not online savvy and also to business and
premium travelers who want hassle free arrangements and immediate information. Travel agents
are normally approached in four instances: i) it involves a long haul destination, ii) there are
language barriers at the destinations (such as countries like Japan, Korea), iii) travellers from the
older generation who may have greater apprehension about overseas travel and when the face-toface element of traditional travel agents help alleviate their concerns and iv) when the consumers
tend to be more affluent and require a hassle free process in their booking arrangements.

Specific travelling behaviour to Singapore


For some visitors from Malaysia, the main purpose for visiting Singapore is to visit family and
friends. Singapore is seen as a destination with world class infrastructure, good standard of living,
shopping and a city filled with fun and excitement. Therefore, the slew of activities and attractions
such as Universal Studios Singapore, Sentosa and entertainment events help attract visitors from
Malaysia to Singapore.
Based on data from 2012,(12) amongst those who visited Singapore, almost 9 in 10 had visited
Singapore previously.Travel typically coincides with school holidays, with June and the end of the
year being popular travel periods. The average length of stay is around 3 days as Singapore is seen
to be a quick weekend getaway and trips are sometimes planned around long weekends. The High
Speed Rail (HSR), which connects Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and is slated to complete in 2020,
will cut travelling time by land between the cities to 90 minutes. This new development will pose
even more opportunities for travel between the two countries.
Compared to general planning behavior, planning a trip to Singapore takes lesser time and in some
cases, planning might not be required as Malaysians are familiar with Singapore. As shared by
respondents during a focus group discussion Its a quick getaway without needing us to think too
much. With a high level of familiarity, almost all who travel to Singapore travel either free and
easy or are Free independent travel. This is also reflected by their search for information whereby
most would search for information online, through social media and word-of-mouth rather than
going through a travel agent. Results from the Brand Health Tracking Study also show that

13

STB Market Insights Malaysia

Malaysians perceive Singapore as a destination that is easy to go around and easy to plan a
holiday to. (14)

Leisure Traveller in Singapore


Leisure activities in Singapore (12)
With more than half of the leisure visitors
travelling with their family and friends, the top
attraction visited was the integrated resorts.
Other than being one of the latest attractions in
1. Integrated Resort (MBS/RWS)
Singapore, the integrated resorts were hugely
2. Chinatown
popular with families due to the wide range of
3. Sentosa
activities such as theme parks, shopping and
4. Little India
dining options. The cultural precincts of
Chinatown and Little India were also preferred;
5. Gardens by the Bay
Chinatown as it offered visitors an opportunity
to purchase items such as dried seafood while Little India was popular for Mustafa Shopping Centre.
Rounding off the top 5 attractions was the Gardens by the Bay.

Top 5 Attractions Visited


in Singapore in 2012

Top 5 shopping areas


Visited in Singapore in 2012

Shopping formed the bulk of expenditure


among Malaysia visitors to Singapore. When
asked which were the shopping areas visited,
1. Changi Airport
Changi Airport was most frequently cited as it
was an area they would access just before
2. Orchard Road
departing for Malaysia. Coming in second was
3. Chinatown
Orchard Road known for its distinctive and
4. Suburban Malls/Housing Estates
iconic shopping malls and restaurants. Suburban
malls and housing estates were also one of the
5. Bugis Junction / Bugis Street
main areas visited as there was a sizeable
proportion that stayed with friends and relatives and these places offered a convenient location for
shopping. Rounding off the top 5 shopping places were Chinatown and Bugis (an area popular with
youth for its affordable street wear).

14

STB Market Insights Malaysia

Arts and entertainment

(15)

A consumer study was conducted by the STB in 2012 to


understand the receptivity of Arts and Entertainment (A&E)
events amongst Malaysians both at home and abroad. The study
surveyed people from Kuala Lumpur and found that 35% had
attended A&E events in the past 2 years, be it in-market, in
Singapore or other countries.
Amongst those who had attended A&E events in Singapore, it
seemed very much a planned activity with 90% having bought
their tickets pre-arrival. The top three genres of events attended
in Singapore were live music events, theatre and musicals.
The top reasons for attending A&E events were preference for the
type of shows/concerts/performances, ticket promotions or wellknown celebrities were performing. Show information was
obtained via social media, family and friends in Singapore and
online ticketing websites.

35% from Kuala Lumpur had


attended A&E events in the past
2 years

90% of those who watched


A&E events in Singapore had
bought the tickets pre-arrival.

Live Music was the top


genre of events attended by
visitors from Malaysia in
Singapore

When asked to evaluate Singapore against other countries in terms of hosting A&E events,
Singapore scored well in terms of ease of getting to performing venues, ease of purchasing tickets
and ease of getting information about the event. However, 2 in 10 did not feel that watching an
A&E event was essential to experiencing Singapore.
In terms of advocacy, almost 9 in 10 would share their experiences with friends, colleagues and
relatives after watching a show/performance, while 7 in 10 would share their experiences on social
media.
Amongst those who had watched A&E performances in Singapore, potential barriers to future
attendance include shows costing more than they are willing to pay, a lack of content that interests
them, and a preference to use the time to do other activities in Singapore.
When asked for ways to further entice attendance amongst current A&E goers, the main feedback
was price promotion. Variations of price promotions include packaged deals (e.g. airfare, hotel stay
and ticket package), free giveaways and bundled tickets promotion (e.g. buy-2 -get-1-free ticket
bundle).

Barriers to Visiting Singapore


The continued appreciation of the Singapore dollar against the Malaysian Ringgit (2008 to 2012)
has further limited expenditure by Malaysian visitors. Other barriers include the perceived
impression that Singapore is too similar to Malaysia; therefore there is nothing new to explore.
Malaysians do not perceive Singapore as a destination that has a wide variety of experiences nor
does it constantly offers new experiences to discover. (14)

15

STB Market Insights Malaysia

Business Traveller in Singapore


Top 5 Cities of Origin (Business) (12)
2010

2011

2012

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Selangor

Penang

Penang

Penang

Sarawak

Selangor

Sarawak

Selangor

Sarawak

Negeri Sembilan

Johor Bahru

Sabah

The Business Travel & Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions (BTMICE)


Traveller from Malaysia
Amongst the visitors from Malaysia to Singapore in 2012, 41% were here for BTMICE purposes.
BTMICE travellers were mainly from the states of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Selangor, and travel
was normally done either alone (80%) or with their business associates/ colleagues (14%).

Top 5 Attractions Visited


in Singapore in 2012
1. Chinatown
2. Integrated Resort (MBS/RWS)
3. Singapore River (Boat Quay / Clarke
Quay)
4. Little India
5. Sentosa

Top 5 shopping areas Visited


in Singapore in 2012
1. Changi Airport
2. Orchard Road
3. Bugis Junction / Bugis Street / Illuma
4. Marina Bay (Marina Sq/Raffles
City/Citylink)
5. Housing Estates / Suburban malls

16

STB Market Insights Malaysia

Each visit usually spanned just slightly more than 2


days. Therefore, if time permits, they tend to visit
attractions which are equally popular among
leisure travellers such as the cultural precincts of
Chinatown and Little India as well as the
integrated resorts and Sentosa. Another
attraction frequently visited is the Singapore River
(Boat Quay/Clarke), which offers a wide range of
drinking and dining options that can be enjoyed
after business meetings.
Being a departure point and with a busy schedule
when they travel to Singapore, Changi Airport was
the top cited place for business travellers to shop.
Rounding off the top three places business
travellers shop at was Orchard Road and the Bugis
area. The top shopping items purchased by
business travellers were Fashion and Accessories,
Confectionery & Food Items and Healthcare &
Wellness Products.

Findings and Implications


Here are the key insights and opportunities we have identified for the travel and tourism sector.

Finding #1: Singapore, an extension of lifestyle


Due to close proximity and cultural similarities, Malaysians generally do not view Singapore as a
travel destination. Instead, travel destinations are normally associated with being further away
and are culturally differentiated.
However, Malaysia continues to be the top three contributors in terms of visitor arrivals into
Singapore. This is because Singapore is seen as an extension of lifestyle to Malaysians with a
concentration of things they are able to do back home like shopping and dining but with a twist
they can catch a concert or musical that is not showing in Malaysia, discover a new dining
concept not yet widely available in Malaysia. Therefore, lifestyle experiences that Malaysians
can enjoy in Singapore are potential levers that can attract visitors from Malaysia.

Finding #2: Harnessing the potential of online while maintaining presence on


traditional media.
Malaysia has one of the highest internet penetrations in South-east Asia and use social
networking heavily. As such, it is not surprising to see that online sources are becoming the
choice medium to search for information before they travel. This is especially so for Malaysians
traveling to Singapore as they are familiar with the destination and would know specifically
what to search for most of the time.
Post trips, social media is also an avenue they use to share their travel experiences. Bearing in
mind how involved Malaysians are in social media, reviews of their experiences would have a
great impact on their friends perception of the destination and decision to visit the location.
Therefore, to aid the sharing of experiences, suitable platforms can be created where
consumers can share their recent experiences. In addition, mechanisms could be put in place
such that users are able to be notified of the latest events that are happening in Singapore.
However, bearing in mind that online is still heavily skewed towards the younger population,
traditional media of communications such as TV and radio are still important to reach out to the
more mature group.

Finding #3: Value vs Price - highlighting value is of utmost importance.


While we note that LCCs are hugely popular with Malaysians, it should not be misjudged that
Malaysian travellers are price conscious but rather they are savvy travellers seeking the
maximum value possible by reducing expenditure on airfare so that they can spend more at the
destination. Therefore products, experiences and offerings that are being pushed out in the
market should be able to clearly articulate the benefits or lifestyle experiences that they can
enjoy only in Singapore to mitigate any adverse impact of the fluctuating currency.

17

STB Market Insights Malaysia

Bibliography
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2. Malaysia Department of Statistics . Population and Housing Census of Malaysia . 2010
3. PATA. Annual Tourism Monitor 2012
4. UNWTO. Key Outbound Tourism Markets in South-East Asia 2013
5. 3D/Nielsen IMS Q2 2012
6. Asia Digital Marketing Association Digital Marketing Yearbook 2012
7.GroupM 3D 2012
8. ComScore, January 2013
9. InMobi& Decision Fuel, Mobile Media Consumption Research Feb, 2012
10. Singapore Tourism Board. Annual Report on Tourism Statistics. 2008/2012
11. Singapore Tourism Board. Project Cruise March 2012
12. Singapore Tourism Board. Overseas Visitors Survey. 2008-2012
13. Ministry of Trade and Industry. Economic Survey of Singapore 2012
14. Singapore Tourism Board,Brand Health Tracking Study 2013
15. Singapore Tourism Board. Arts and Entertainment Study 2012

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STB Market Insights Malaysia

www.stb.gov.sg