Destination Branding: Singapore – A Foreigner’s Perspective

destination branding

Destination branding is a term closely related to destination marketing, which usually refers to the marketing of tourist destinations. The role of destination market organisations (DMO) is to increase the number of visitors by promoting destinations. In many parts of the world, national airline is the main carrier of a country’s destination marketing. DMOs have always been the vanguard of any destination promotion. If there is a lack of a strong DMO role, other entities like large travel companies and other airlines may take on a leading role in destination branding, thus diversifying the destination brand’s identity.

Destination vs. Nation Branding

While destination branding is a concept connected with tourism, over the years it has evolved, producing derivatives like nation branding. Examples of this concept include a country’s public policy and image. Nation branding involves the branding of a country and its people, and is a broader term than destination branding. When a country’s image is branded, people can be encouraged to travel, shop, and invest there, especially when a country is struggling for a place on the global market.


The Tiger of the East

Known as the “Tiger of the East,” Singapore is one of the leading countries taking a serious approach to nation branding. Despite its relatively short history and small landmass, its efforts have been regarded as exemplary in many niches of nation branding. Well-orchestrated, and on-going, the Tiger of the East, with its bustling economy  has an ambition to establish itself as leading global metropolis. This is embodied in its public and government initiatives which cover all aspects of its economy and society.

china singapore diplomat

Early Initiatives

The majority of Singapore’s nation branding efforts comes from the government. It can be traced back to the establishment of the country’s self-governance in 1959. At that time the government was facing a shortage of natural resources, political instability, and an unskilled workforce. From then on, Singapore’s public diplomacy was marked by constant responses to these shortcomings, and eventually the Economic Development Board was established in order to attract foreign investment.

business friendly

Business-Friendly Republic

Singapore’s key resource has always been its citizens. Although domestic business is poorly promoted, this small country is an attractive location for multinational company incorporation and foreign investors. One example of this is Singapore Airlines. Its strong brand identity combined with on-going success has made it one of the world’s top airlines. Singapore is also known for its hassle-free business setup procedures as well as one of the most stable political systems in Asia, which offers investors comfort and peace of mind. Its strategic position and proximity to developing markets, combined with excellent air connectivity, make it an ideal location for new business ventures.


The Future

Although renowned for its hard power, in recent times Singapore has shown efforts to boost its soft power. The government has issued the Renaissance City Plan, a widespread national initiative aimed at creating a global cultural and entertainment hub. No longer solely a financial and business paradise, culture and the entertainment industries are also taking a piece of the pie, which is being supported by developments in infrastructure needed to support it.


John Stone spent a better part of his life working as a business consultant. He is currently the editor of BizzmarkBlog. Always on the move and keeping up with the latest developments in technology, through years of experience he became a devout believer in the notion that form should always follow function and that developing the ability to think outside of the box is a prerequisite of being a successful entrepreneur. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar and watching Formula 1.


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