Swifties go on pricey pilgrimage to Singapore

Swifties go on pricey pilgrimage to Singapore

/ 05:30 AM March 04, 2024

PHOTOS: Left photo shows Filipina “Swifties,” including Charlyn Suizo (second from left), as they join other fans (right) who flocked to the National Stadium on March 2, 2024, the first of Taylor Swift’s six concerts in Singapore. STORY: Swifties go on pricey pilgrimage to Singapore

PRICELESS MOMENT | Left photo shows Filipina “Swifties,” including Charlyn Suizo (second from left), as they join other fans (right) who flocked to the National Stadium on March 2, 2024, the first of Taylor Swift’s six concerts in Singapore. (Photos from Reuters)

SINGAPORE — Filipina Charlyn Suizo is in Singapore this week for one reason only: Taylor Swift.

The 30-year-old software engineer, who heads a Philippine group of Swifties, as fans of the singer are known, flew in from Manila on Friday with 17 friends.


She spends at least $6,000 on her flights, concert tickets, and accommodation. That is slightly above the average annual household income in her home country.


“This is the biggest amount I have spent for a concert. I never really spent big … for someone else, just Taylor Swift,” said Suizo, who has splashed out on a VIP ticket costing more than S$1,000 ($745). She plans to see three of Swift’s six performances in Singapore.

Flights, bookings up

Suizo is among thousands of Swifties descending on Singapore this week from Southeast Asia to catch the American star’s Eras Tour, giving the sluggish local economy a much-needed boost.

Swift plays six sold-out nights this week in Singapore, her only stop in Southeast Asia.

Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Maybank, estimates that seven in 10 of the 300,000 concertgoers will be coming in from abroad, spending between S$350 million and S$500 million ($260 million to $370 million) on hotels, food and entertainment.

By comparison, the F1 Singapore Grand Prix has generated around S$2 billion ($1.5 billion) in tourism receipts since it started in 2008, according to the trade ministry.

Analysts at HSBC say hotel rooms in Singapore now cost 30 percent more than in prepandemic 2019.


Edmund Ong, general manager at Trip.com Singapore, said that from March 1 to March 9, the cost of flights into Singapore nearly tripled while accommodation bookings almost quintupled. Bookings for attractions and tours shot up by more than 2,300 percent.

Grant for Swift

Economic growth in Singapore slowed to 1.1 percent last year from 3.8 percent in 2022, with a 1- to 3-percent growth expected this year, according to the government.

Last month, the government said it had given Swift a grant to play in Singapore. It did not disclose how much but said the concerts were “likely to generate significant benefits to the Singapore economy, especially to tourism activities such as hospitality, retail, travel and dining.”

The announcement annoyed other countries in the region, with the Thai prime minister saying the grant was made on condition that it would be Swift’s only show in Southeast Asia, while a Filipino lawmaker said it “isn’t what good neighbors do.”

Singapore’s government did not confirm the exclusivity clause.

Minors need clearance

Singapore has seen a concert boom since pandemic lockdowns ended, with big names like Blackpink, Coldplay, and Ed Sheeran playing sold-out shows.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminded Filipino concertgoers heading to Singapore that minors traveling out of the country need clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

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

The bureau issued the reminder that hundreds of young adults and minors are expected to flock to Swift’s Eras Tour in Singapore from March 2 to March 9.

Filipino minors traveling alone as tourists and with a person other than his or her parent need to secure a travel clearance, BI said, citing a DSWD advisory.

“Swifties” under 18 years old were also advised to secure parental consent if traveling alone.

“We are expecting an increase in travelers during the first week of March during the Taylor Swift concert period, and of course, as the summer season enters,” BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said.

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He also reminded concertgoers to fill out their e-travel 72 hours before departure and to check in at least three hours before their flights.

TAGS: Eras Tour, Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift Singapore concernt

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