Singapore’s Ramadan, Eid draw ME visitors
Dubai, August 2, 2011
Singapore’s annual Ramadan and Eid festival is becoming increasingly popular with Middle East travellers, who are flocking to Asia’s most cosmopolitan capital to enjoy the sights, tastes and sounds of the Muslim community’s unique celebrations, which run throughout the holy month.
Last year’s Hari Raya – Singapore’s term for Eid celebrations – drew 25 per cent more travellers from the Middle East than the previous year, with a total of 26,410 regional visitors arriving in Singapore during August and September in 2010, up from 21,132 in the same two-month period in 2009.
Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is expecting even more regional visitors to travel to this year’s event, which runs from July 30 to September 7, and will cover a 1.8 km stretch of the Geylang Serai district where the city-state’s Muslim inhabitants, who account for 15 per cent of the multicultural population, have been centred for around 200 years.
Every night during the 39-day festival the area’s streets come alive with dazzling light decorations and buzzing street-stalls, selling traditional clothes and gifts, and delicious local Malay cuisine. Visitors can also enjoy cultural shows and a specially designed heritage exhibition on the origins and customs of Hari Raya.
During Ramadan Singapore’s many mosques hold the traditional nightly Tarawih prayer and pre-dawn Qiyam prayer, to which visitors are welcome. Iftar is available at a wide range of venues, including the oldest and largest mosque on the island, the Sultan Mosque, which lies in the heart of Kampong Glam.
“Singapore’s Hari Raya celebrations are proving increasingly popular with visitors from the Middle East who come to enjoy the unique way we celebrate Ramadan and Eid. With trade links between the Arab world and South East Asia dating back to the ninth century, Singapore is well accustomed to Middle East visitors, offering a home away from home during the holy month,” said Jason Ong, area director for Middle East and Africa, STB.
“The Hari Raya festival offers a nightly array of colour, where visitors can buy a bounty of garments and gifts, as well as try out a mouth-watering selection of local delicacies that can be sampled once the sun goes down,” he added. - TradeArabia News Service