Singapore targets Indians with new wildlife destination brand
As Singapore readies to unveil its integrated wildlife zone and newest tourism attraction with the tagline ‘Paradise is Here’, The Drum spoke to Mandai Wildlife Group's chief marketer about its plans to engage global tourists – especially Indians.
Mandai's Bird paradise - the new wildlife destination brand in Singapore
A slew of smart and sustainable initiatives have helped Singapore create a vibrant tourist destination brand, despite its size.
The recent announcement of the country’s newest destination brand, Bird Paradise, as a part of the Mandai Wildlife Reserve portfolio is no exception. The brand is on a mission to shift from being a wildlife operator to becoming a wildlife destination, says Jean Choi, chief of sales and marketing at Mandai Wildlife Group.
“Our goal is to create a wildlife destination not just for Singaporeans but for global travelers,“ says Choi, who recently spoke with The Drum during a visit to India to announce the new addition to the company’s portfolio.
Located within the wildlife destination of Mandai Wildlife Reserve in northern Singapore, the new park will join the Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and River Wonders attractions, and mark the consolidation of the nature and wildlife offerings all in the same neighborhood.
The move follows the closure of the iconic Jurong Bird Park earlier this year, which originally launched in 1972 and was the oldest wildlife park in Singapore and a must-visit on tourist itineraries.
Now, the 52-year-old Bird Park has found a new home and a new life with the official name of ‘Bird Paradise’ and is soon to be relaunched as the latest addition to Mandai’s portfolio.
Among the highlights at Bird Paradise, shares Choi, are “eight large walk-through aviaries, each reflecting different habitats of the world and which will come to life with the colors, vocalization and natural behaviors of many bird species.”
However, while the new destination will house birds, it will be a very different experience to Jurong Bird Park, says Singapore Tourism Board’s regional director for India, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, GB Srithar. “It is not the rebirth of Jurong Bird Park as that chapter is closed. This is about the birth of a new destination – the Bird Paradise at Mandai.“
India is a crucial market for Singapore Tourism
India is a significant market for Singapore’s tourism market, and the same applies to Mandai Wildlife Reserve. The Indian traveler has been the largest market for the famous night safari and the erstwhile Bird Park, says Choi. “India is a very important market for us – has been for over a decade – and we hope to continue attracting the Indian traveler with the new launch.”
Singapore has been a favorite market for Indian travelers for some years now and in 2022 India emerged as the second-largest source market after Indonesia (1.1 million visitors). India accounted for 686,000 of the overall 6.3 million global visitor arrivals and was a popular choice among Indians as a resort destination for both leisure as well as family-friendly experiences.
The attractions include Sentosa Island and Universal Studios, as well as the vibrant districts and the ethnic precincts in the city that have been segmented based on their varied culture and history. India’s large contribution to the tourist traffic to Singapore is something that the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) also takes into account when crafting the go-to-market strategies for the target markets.
According to GB Srithar, STB’s regional director for India, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, “Indian travelers are discerning, and keen to try out new experiences and with the launch of Bird Paradise and several other world-class modern attractions and experiences, consumers in India have a wide array to choose from while planning their holidays to Singapore.”
“With this opening, we hope to have the average stay of the Indian traveler to Singapore to go up even higher, from the current average of 7 to 7.5 days”, Srithar tells The Drum.
Selling a sustainable paradise
The Mandai Wildlife Reserve will become a significant part of the country’s marketing activity in a bid to attract more visitors. The strategy is to sell the new integrated offering as an entire wildlife destination for tourists.
Choi tells The Drum the marketing push to both trade and travelers will center around a focus on visiting the ’four parks’. “The official tagline for the brand campaign would be ‘Paradise is Here’ when we officially launch the Bird Paradise,” says Choi.
Sustainability will also play a key part in marketing and remains a high priority for Mandai. As a wildlife destination, the values and practices of sustainability are a core pillar of the entire operation and broader awareness and public education remain important to the brand.
Mandai is also set to be a significant showcase for Singapore’s focus on sustainability. The country was recently certified as a sustainable destination by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and, as one of the first countries in the world to receive this certification, sustainability will become a big focus for Singapore Tourism in the future.