The Hon. John Eren MP – travel report, Singapore, September 2015

Minister Minister Eren
Portfolio Tourism and Major Events, Sport, Veterans
Countries visited Singapore
Date of travel 17 September to 21 September 2015
No. of official travel days
(including date of departure and date of return)
5 (3 days in Singapore)
Number of accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)
Air fares $7,286.00*
Accommodation $7,490.00*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $3,416.00*
Travel cost for minister and staff $18,192.00*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

By invitation, I travelled to Singapore from 17th to 21st September to meet with Formula One Group Chairman Bernie Ecclestone, and other senior executives, regarding the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. I capitalised on my time in Singapore by meeting with the Singapore Government and the private sector relating to my portfolios as Minister for Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport.

Singapore has undergone a major transformation in the past ten years to become a significant international destination. The city has been transformed and modernised by the addition of the Marina Bay Sands development, The Gardens by the Bay theme park, cruise ship terminal, the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix event, the Ferris Wheel and other attractions.

Tourism has been a strategic economic driver for Singapore over the past decade. The Singapore Tourism Board has engineered an impressive turnaround from what was once considered to be the financial business hub to a glamorous visitor destination in South East Asia.

Singapore is Victoria's fifth largest market in terms of visitor spend accounting for $258 million for the year ending June 2015. Singapore is also Victoria's sixth largest inbound visitor market with a total of 98,000 Singapore visitors to the State for the year ending June 2015.

The purpose of the trip was to meet with senior executives of Formula One Group, Singapore Airlines, the Singaporean government, tourism board and industry.

The Victorian Government has successfully negotiated the contract to hold the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne until 2023. This trip presented an opportunity to meet Formula One Group management, on the ground, to discuss how we can work together to maximise outcomes for the Melbourne event.

I also met with international media to announce the extension of the contract and to promote Melbourne as a preferred visitor destination.

Acquisition of major events is an increasingly competitive global market. Establishing and maintaining relationships between governments and global rights holders is key to developing a successful program of major events.

I also held meetings with the following organisations:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • Australian High Commissioner – Philip Green
  • Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • Singapore Sports Hub
  • Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry
  • Singapore Tourism Board

Benefits of travel to the state of Victoria

  • Strengthened relationships with major events global rights holders.
  • Facilitated international media coverage promoting Melbourne as a preferred visitor destination.
  • Negotiated and advanced Victoria's interests with key international aviation partners.
  • Explored further partnerships with the Singapore Government on collaborative strategic marketing campaigns to benefit visitation to Victoria.
  • Investigated best practice for sporting and business events precincts and future infrastructure to support the sector in Victoria.
  • Investigated opportunities for the Victorian Government's new Singapore VGBO office.

Formula One Group

The Formula One Group is a group of companies responsible for the promotion of the Formula One World Championship and exploitation of the sport's commercial rights. Bernie Ecclestone, a former Formula One team boss, has run the company since gaining control of the commercial rights. The Group is owned ultimately by Delta Topco, a Jersey–based company owned primarily by investment companies CVC Capital Partners, Waddell & Reed, and LBI Group, with the remaining ownership split between Bernie Ecclestone, other investment companies and company directors.

Over two days I met with senior executives of Formula One Group and CVC Capital Partners (principal shareholders) primarily around the future of the race in Melbourne, its standing in the Formula One race calendar (including timing), ways to improve our offering to fans and increase international visitation to the Melbourne race.

The Formula One race provides the only free-to-air sporting coverage of any major event staged in Melbourne; however, with the advancement of digital media and information sharing across the globe, new and innovative ways to promote our brand on a digital platform can be explored.

I participated in interviews with the following global media outlets to promote the Formula One Australian Grand Prix held in Melbourne and our broader offering of major events.

  2. ESPN / Autosport
  3. Autosport
  4. Autosport China
  5. Dieter Rencken – freelance
  6. Ch 10
  7. SKY
  8. GPTV

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is Australia's second largest foreign carrier and is now in its 48th year of operating services to Australia. It is a key carrier of visitors from Asia -predominately China and increasingly India.

Singapore Airlines is a critical partner to Victoria with its current operation of four daily Melbourne-Singapore flights. For the year ended June 2015, Singapore Airlines' international seat capacity for Melbourne was 885,000.

I discussed with the airline the possibility of adding a fifth daily flight to Melbourne along with its Premium Economy product on the Melbourne service.

Singapore Airlines is the parent company of low cost carrier Scoot. Scoot recently accepted Tourism Victoria's offer of incentive funding to fly to Melbourne. The airline announced a 5 x weekly service commencing 1 November 2015. I discussed the possibility of this service moving to daily in 2016.

Discussions were productive and both parties agreed to continue discussions through the department on further opportunities to increase flights and seat capacity to Victoria.

Singapore Sports Hub

In my capacity as Minister for Sport and Major Events, I visited the recently completed Singapore Sports Hub (opened in 2014) to explore best practice in global sporting infrastructure.

The Singapore Sports Hub is a world-class, integrated sports, entertainment and lifestyle hub delivering world-class sporting and entertainment events.

Established under a 25-year Public-Private Partnership agreement between Sport Singapore and Sports Hub, this project is one of the largest sporting infrastructure projects in the world today.

Singapore Sports Hub is the first arena in the world to combine world-class sporting infrastructure for football, athletics, rugby and cricket, with lifestyle and entertainment facilities available to the whole community.

The integrated hub also includes a retail mall, restaurants, skate park, lawn bowl green, climbing wall, beach volleyball court, hard courts, sports library and museum.

This piece of sporting infrastructure has received critical acclaim and is viewed as best practice for delivering elite sporting infrastructure alongside community sporting facilities, retail and tourist attractions.

Australian High Commissioner, Philip Green

Consistent with the Victorian Government's plan to grow the Victorian economy, I met with the Australian High Commissioner to discuss the opening of a Victorian Government Business Office and broader opportunities in Singapore to improve government to government relationships and new opportunities for Victoria businesses.

The Commissioner and I spoke at length about the success of the Singapore Government in re-inventing the city into a prime tourism destination, and the flow on effects to the economy.

The professional services industry continues to experience high growth, as does the innovation / start up industry.

The High Commissioner also pointed out the rise in Indian travellers, particularly to Singapore. Further discussions were encouraged between both the Victorian Government and Singapore Government.

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism & Singapore Tourism Board

During this meeting, many discussions were had around Singapore's visitor economy and focus on tourism over the past decade. Revenue raising through government funding leveraging contributions from the private sector was instrumental in the delivery of Singapore's tourism strategy. Victoria can learn a lot from Singapore and its aggressive campaign to boost the visitor economy.

Prior to the campaign commencing in 2005, Singapore's tourism arrivals were sitting around 9 million annually. Within five years, these numbers jumped by 30% to 11.6 million in 2010. From 2010 to 2013 another 34% growth occurred to reach 15.6 million.

Rising visitation numbers into Singapore presents an opportunity to leverage off this growth with campaigns encouraging dispersal of these visitors from Singapore into Australia, and Victoria in particular.

Discussions were had around a collaborative approach through joint marketing campaigns and how this could result in greater outcomes for both Singapore and Victoria.

Next steps / follow up

  • Facilitate discussions between the department, Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Government's Department of Tourism, Trade and Industry regarding joint marketing initiatives to increase flow of visitors from India to Singapore through to Victoria.
  • Australian Grand Prix Corporation to continue to work with Formula One Group to further improve Melbourne's offering, increase international visitation and further explore Melbourne brand positioning through Formula One's digital platform.
  • Facilitate discussions between Sport and Recreation Victoria and the Singapore Sports Hub regarding best practice for sporting infrastructure.

Page last updated: 20 July 2016