Rep. Salceda asks DFA to write Singapore over Taylor Swift tour
Why the exclusive concert deal?

Rep. Joey Salceda asks DFA to write Singapore over Taylor Swift tour

/ 05:56 AM February 29, 2024

PHOTO: Taylor Swift on stage STORY: Rep. Joey Salceda asks DFA to write Singapore over Taylor Swift tour

NOT THE ‘ASEAN WAY’ | US singer Taylor Swift performs during a concert as part of her “The Eras Tour” in Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 23, 2024. In Manila, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda has aired displeasure and sought diplomatic action over reports concerning the deal behind the Singapore leg of the tour. (Photo from Agence France-Presse)

MANILA, Philippines — There must be “Bad Blood” brewing in Southeast Asia — and it’s over Taylor Swift.

Even a ranking member of the House of Representatives wants some answers.


The chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday to send a note verbale to the Singaporean Embassy in Manila to explain the reportedly exclusive deal between Singapore and the production company behind the American pop superstar’s worldwide tour.


READ: Salceda questions Singapore’s exclusivity of Taylor Swift’s concert

Specifically, Salceda is asking the embassy to explain the exclusivity terms in the grant given by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to AEG Presents, which prevented Swift from taking her “The Eras Tour” elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Swift’s only stop in region

The global superstar is set to play six sold-out shows at Singapore’s National Stadium from March 2 to March 4 and from March 7 to March 9 in what would be her only stop in the region. More than 300,000 tickets were sold for all six shows, with many fans flying to the wealthy island city-state for the concerts.

The STB and the MCCY confirmed that the tour got a grant after estimating that Singapore’s tourism sector—the local hospitality, retail, travel, and dining industries — would benefit from the tour.

But having such terms, Salceda said, “isn’t what good neighbors do … [as it] was at the expense of neighboring countries, which could not attract their own foreign concertgoers and whose fans had to go to Singapore.”

The terms were first made public by Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who said the Singaporean government offered at least $3 million in grants to AEG. Salceda acknowledged that the “policy worked,” citing figures that regional demand for Singaporean hotels and airlines rose up to 30 percent during the period.


An economist, the Albay congressman, said the exclusivity term apparently “caused an increase in industry revenues by $60 million. So, the grant produced 30 times more in economic activity.”

“I don’t think we should just let things like this pass. We should still officially register our opposition … It also runs contrary to the principle of consensus-based relations and solidarity on which the Asean was founded,” the lawmaker said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the 10-member regional bloc whose members include the Philippines and Singapore.

He added that the exclusivity terms could be discussed in a meeting among Asean members next time.

He also acknowledged that this should also remind the Philippines to step up its game to be able to host large-scale concerts.

No venue big enough for Swift

Before Thavisin’s revelation, there was speculation that the Swift tour skipped the Philippines because there was no venue large enough for the production. Recent concerts staged at the largest performance venue in the country, the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena, have been marked by major logistical problems like the lack of transportation options in and out of the area.

Speaking to the Inquirer, Salceda said that had the Swift tour also included the Philippines, just a third of the tourists that Singapore attracted “would have spent some P1.44 billion in Philippine businesses,” including hotel, food, airfare, and local transport.

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Assuming that the Philippines also matched the subsidy given by Singapore, he added, “even the full cost would have returned 10 times more in economic activity.”

TAGS: Department of Foreign Affairs, Joey Salceda, PH-Singapore relations, Taylor Swift

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