Taylor Swift is boosting Singapore's economy

Taylor Swift is boosting Singapore’s economy

Taylor Swift is boosting Singapore's economyThe magnitude of the grant the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) awarded to the concert organizer is dwarfed by the estimated economic advantages Singapore can gain from the current Taylor Swift concerts.

This is in response to inquiries in Parliament regarding the expected economic returns and worth of the superstar’s six concerts in this country. Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth Edwin Tong stated this on 4 March.

His ministry and STB claimed in a joint statement that they worked closely with the promoter AEG Presents. Therefore they supplied a grant to assist in bringing Swift in. However, they do not disclose the amount and terms of the grant. Rumour has it that the payout is in the millions for each show.

“There has been some online speculation as to the size of the grant. I can say that it is not accurate and not anywhere as high as speculated, but due to business confidentiality, we cannot reveal the specific size and conditions of the grant,” said Tong.

“I can assure members of the House that the economic benefits to Singapore are assessed to be significant and outweigh the size of the grant,” he added, noting that direct economic benefits include additional tourist arrivals, spending on tickets, flights, hotel stays, as well as entertainment, retail and dining in Singapore.


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According to analysts, tourism might boost Singapore’s economy by up to S$500 million, as reported by The Straits Times.

However, several lawmakers in nearby countries like Thailand and the Philippines have expressed dissatisfaction and controversy over the grants.

The problem arose when the promoter told Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin that the Singaporean government would subsidize up to US$3 million per show. Under the condition that Swift refused to perform during The Eras Tour in other parts of Southeast Asia.

Workers’ Party MP Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC) questioned why taxpayer-funded incentives need to draw in celebrities like Taylor Swift. When Singapore is a desirable travel destination in and of itself.

In response, Tong stated that the government considers several factors. This includes Singapore’s goals and the general demand, when deciding which events to support with grants. Including the conditions and structure of those grants.

“In this case, we were mindful that if we wanted Singapore to be part of the tour stops – and if you look at her past tour history – it’s very difficult to be one or two nights alone because of the (scale of the) setup,” he said, adding that holding a concert over a certain number of nights can result in economies of scale, and determines if a concert held in a location, or not at all.

“Every event, whether it’s arts, culture, lifestyle, music, has a different set of considerations and we’re motivated by the different outcomes we want to achieve,” he added.

In February 2023, Tong led a multi-agency team from Singapore on an exploratory tour to the United States. Which helped secure a run of six shows at the National Stadium in the Singapore Sports Hub.

A-list performers like Swift will help position Singapore as a cultural hub in Southeast Asia. One that can host various arts, music, and culture events. In addition to significant sporting and lifestyle events, Tong said in Parliament, citing additional benefits for tourism and the economy.

“This helps to brand Singapore as a fun, vibrant destination,” he said.

“Singapore faces intense regional competition for these concerts and we will need to continue investing in our infrastructure and software to continue attracting marquee entertainment and lifestyle events.”

Xie Yao Quan (Jurong GRC) questioned the Minister about whether any more specific targets were under consideration of for the quantity of transactions from Singapore’s concert economy.

Tong emphasized that the “social return”—which uses the Sports Hub as a lure and asset for various events—is just as significant as the financial benefits of hosting such events.

He said the Sports Hub has redirected money from big-name entertainment and sporting events into “non-revenue generating, but highly impactful social events.”

In 2023, for instance, the Sports Hub played host to a record 43 National School Games finals events. This is about three times the number of finals events that took place there in 2019 before Covid-19.

“MCCY, Sport Singapore and KASM (Kallang Alive Sport Management) will work hard, continue to hustle, and do our best to bring top class events here, but also continue to make the Sports Hub more accessible to Singaporeans,” he said.

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