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'Swift concert' spread to diplomatic friction

Posted March. 04, 2024 08:10,   

Updated March. 04, 2024 08:10


There was controversy between Singapore and neighboring countries regarding the scheduled performance of American pop star Taylor Swift in Singapore from last Saturday to this coming Saturday. The Philippines, Thailand, and other neighboring nations complained, arguing, “The Singaporean government provided millions of dollars in subsidies per show to the organizer AEG to secure exclusive performances in Southeast Asia.” Swift's performances were deemed to have significant economic value, leading to the emergence of a new term, 'Swiftnomics,' blending her name with 'economics.' However, there were complaints about Singapore's perceived monopoly over this opportunity.

According to media outlets including Reuters, Philippine House of Representatives member Joey Salceda voiced his concerns on Wednesday: "The Singapore government provided a subsidy to AEG for hosting exclusive concerts in the country. This is not what a good neighbor does." Similarly, Thai Prime Minister Theta Taisin criticized on Feb. 16, saying, "Singapore paid $2 to $3 million per episode to bring Swift in." However, the Singaporean authorities countered these claims, saying, "Swift chose Singapore due to its advantages as a transportation, logistics, and financial hub."

Swift is scheduled to perform six times during her visit to Singapore, with all tickets, totaling approximately 300,000, selling out quickly. Analysis indicates that visitors are expected to spend at least 500 million Singapore dollars (approximately 500 billion won). Interestingly, it's projected that 70% of these attendees will likely come from neighboring countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, rather than Singaporeans themselves.

Major hotels and airlines are capitalizing on the Swift phenomenon with special offerings. For instance, the Landmark Hotel Marina Bay Sands introduced the 'Swift Package' priced at 50,000 Singapore dollars (approximately 50 million won), including VIP tickets to Swift's performances, hotel suite accommodation, and limousine services. As anticipated, this package sold out immediately after its launch. Other hotels have also noted a 20 to 30 percent increase in demand from Southeast Asian customers compared to usual. Singapore Airlines reported a 20% rise in demand for flights between major cities in neighboring countries and Singapore.

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