The Worldfolio talks with Bipan Kapur, General Manager of Shangri–La Hotel, Singapore.
ASEAN remains the fastest economic bloc in the world in terms of economic growth. Tourism is increasingly competing with other blocs such as Europe or US. In this context, what is in your opinion the potential of ASEAN for tourism and how does it fit into the overall Asian tourism offering for western tourist?
ASEAN is in a unique position. Cluster of ASEAN countries offer a mix of sights & experiences including pristine beaches, rain forests, mountains, temples, palaces and modern cities abuzz with activity, all expressed through its own unique Asian culture, food & hospitality. With more than half the population of the globe residing in Asia, it offers a plethora of options to explore and discover the region.
Majority of ASEAN destinations are within a one hour flight from each other facilitating the ease of travel. ASEAN countries offers a comprehensive and well developed infrastructure for travel via air, road & sea, Singapore is a major airport hub for the region with over 100 airlines and over 400 cities easily accessible from Changi Airport. It is well poised as an international hub for travel within ASEAN region.
Tell us more about the inception of Shangri-La and how Singapore came to be the first of many hotels for the group?
The Shangri-La story began in 1971 with our first deluxe hotel in Singapore. Inspired by the legendary land featured in James Hilton's 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, the name Shangri-La encapsulates the serenity and service for which our hotels and resorts are renowned worldwide. Today, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is regarded as one of the world’s finest hotel ownership and management companies, the hallmark of Asian Hospitality, with 100 hotels and resorts and a room inventory of over 40,000.
Being the first Shangri-La and a flagship hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore is regarded as an iconic landmark. We also call it “the second botanic garden of Singapore” with 15 acres of lush landscaped gardens and numerous varieties of orchids within the hotel grounds. With its 47 years of history, there is much emotional connection with families that have grown up dining and spending time here, or celebrating weddings and special celebrations here, and that is why Shangri-La Singapore is so unique and will always remain a special place in many people’s hearts.
Regarding the historical connection, the hotel has played an important role in the country. It hosted the Chinese Summit, the Shangri-La dialogue summit and more recently was involved in the US-North Korea summit….
We feel humbled and honored to be selected as the hotel of choice to host such historic events and esteemed delegates. Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore’s proven track record of consistently delivering seamless service while prioritising the safety and security of all our guests has established our reputation as a venue for such important significant events.