Culinary queen Violet Oon and cruise giant Genting led an impressive roll call of winners at the annual Singapore Tourism Awards on Thursday.
The ceremony, held at The Ritz Carlton Millennia Singapore and organised by Singapore Tourism Board (STB), recognised contributions made in a diverse range of categories including Best Exhibition Organiser and Best Leisure Event.
Noted winners included The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (Best Shopping Mall Experience), Odette (Best Dining Experience), Gardens by the Bay (Best Attraction Experience) and C3 Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2018 (Best Leisure Event).
But the top accolade of the evening, the Lifetime Achievement for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism, was awarded to Oon, one of Singapore’s most respected restauranteurs and chefs, known for her Peranakan food.
Oon shared that she never expected her culinary achievements to garner such a significant recognition in the tourism industry.
“It’s an acknowledgement that food has become a destination draw, because people do actually travel for good food and with a restaurant list,” said Oon.
Food has risen to become a key pillar in Singapore’s tourism over the years, Oon observes. “Bringing in the integrated resorts into Singapore was a turning point for tourism, and with it came the celebrity chefs, which marked a turning point in our cuisine and made our food scene distinctive and varied”, Oon said.
Genting Cruise Lines’ chairman and CEO, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (second from right) receiving the award for Breakthrough Contribution to Tourism from Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (second from left). (Credit: Singapore Tourism Board)
Genting Cruise Lines was recognised for its Breakthrough Contribution to Tourism after playing a pivotal role in growing Singapore as a global cruise hub. It most notably pioneered Asia’s first Fly-Cruise service with Changi Airport Group and SATS in 2011.
“Our work in Singapore began 25 years ago, and we’re very happy it cumulated in tonight’s success”, said Genting Cruise Lines’ chairman and CEO, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay.
Lim highlighted the milestone achievement was being able to homeport its new mega-ship in Singapore due to new cruise port infrastructure and cooperation with STB.
“The next step would be to expand and grow the market by stimulating the younger generation to cruise through better food and experiences, which I believe is very doable”, said Lim.
Meanwhile, hotelier Loh Lik Peng, chairman of the Singapore Hotel Association’s Hotel Innovation Committee, was singled out for a Special Recognition Award for leading innovation initiatives in Singapore’s hotel industry, such as the Hotel Innovation Pitch.
The initiative supports hotels in crowdsourcing technology solutions that improve productivity and enhance guest experiences.
“The hotel industry is shifting so quickly, and there’s so much digitalisation occurring. It’s about ensuring that the industry remains at the forefront of the changes”, Loh remarked.
In the business events category, Resorts World Sentosa was named Best Meetings/Incentives Organiser), while Singapore Expo and Max Atria was recognised as Best Business Event Venue Experience.
Herbalife Nutrition’s director of events, Asia Pacific, Amy Lim was crowned the Best Business Event Champion for her role in anchoring key events in Singapore, such as Herbalife South East Asia Extravaganza. The event has been held in Singapore five times over the past decade with more than 10,000 attendees turning out.
Food&HotelAsia (FHA) by UBM Singapore, a notable event on Singapore’s business events calendar, also won a Special Recognition award for hosting the conference’s largest edition in Singapore last year, with more than 80,000 participants from 105 countries.
STB chief executive Keith Tan said the awards recognise the efforts of industry partners in making Singapore “an attractive and vibrant city with a diverse range of experiences and attractions for visitors and locals”.
“I am very encouraged by the strong competition and the impressive line-up of recipients and finalists, which underscores the industry’s continual push to excel and provide outstanding experiences,” he added.