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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

‘Swift effect’ hits Singapore

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The “Swift effect” is about to hit Southeast Asia but Singapore has left some of its neighbors seeing red while it profits from a Taylor-made tourism boom as the star’s only stop in the region.

More than 300,000 fans from the city-state and neighboring countries will attend the US superstar’s six sold-out Eras Tour shows at the National Stadium from March 2 to 9.

Ingrid Delgado, a fresh graduate in Manila who is traveling to Singapore for the March 4 show, said she bought a “new shimmering dress” for the occasion but had trouble finding an affordable hotel.

“A lot were booked already, so I had to book a more expensive hotel,” she said.

The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts, as well as the Fairmont Hotel, told AFP that demand for rooms during the concert period had risen.

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Big spenders have taken up Marina Bay Sands’ luxury packages named after Swift’s hit songs, such as “Shake it Off” and “Stay Stay Stay”.

The hotel’s $37,230 “Wildest Dreams” package includes VIP tickets, fine dining, a hotel suite, limousine transfers, and passes to tourist attractions. The hotel told AFP all its packages were sold out.

Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines said there had been an increased demand for Singapore-bound flights but could not say whether it was solely due to the “Swift Effect”.

A large contingent of Malaysian Swifties will be crossing into neighboring Singapore.

“It’s a dream come true. I feel excited and nervous,” said Harith Arsat, a 20-year-old student who will be making his first overseas trip from Kuala Lumpur.

In the Philippines, budget carrier Cebu Pacific has changed its usual flight number for Singapore-bound planes to “1989” – the year Swift was born and the title of her fifth album – for the March 1-9 period.

However, not everyone was happy when Swift’s only Southeast Asia stop was announced, including fans and governments in some of Singapore’s neighbors.

Traveling to Singapore is expensive for many in the region due to high currency exchanges and ritzy hotel packages.

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