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Economic benefits of bringing Taylor Swift to S’pore significantly outweigh STB grant size: Edwin Tong

Social benefits also exist when bringing in acts like Taylor Swift, Edwin Tong says

Speaking in Parliament on Monday (4 Mar), Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said there aren’t only economic benefits but also social benefits when bringing acts like Taylor Swift to Singapore.

“To us, it is equally important that we have social return,” he said. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the economic benefits “significantly” outweigh the grant that the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) provided for the Taylor Swift ‘The Eras Tour’ deal.

He also said that not every deal will require a grant, but the Government will act according to what it wants to achieve — be it a deal, or to organise the Government’s framework.

Edwin Tong says economic benefits of Taylor Swift tour outweigh grant

According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), the figure to bring Taylor Swift to Singapore is “closer to US$2 million to US$3 million in total for all six concerts”.

The economic returns include additional tourist arrivals and additional spending on tickets, flights, and hotel stays, and extend to the entertainment, retail and dining sectors in Singapore.

Other cities which hosted Taylor Swift concerts also reported an increase in economic activity which Singapore should also expect.

Mr Tong thus assured Parliament that the returns outweigh the grant that STB provided.

Source: CNA

Confidentiality clause attached

When other MPs asked about aspects of the deal, Mr Tong responded that they were confidential. Such aspects include the size of the grant as well as how much the Singapore government paid.

However, he did say that online figures are inaccurate and “nowhere near” what was posited.

Nominated MP Usha Chandradas asked if the confidentiality clause, if one exists, had been breached and if action would be taken. She also asked if these clauses were regarding exclusivity arrangements.


Source: CNA

Politicians from neighbouring regions such as the Philippines and Thailand have made claims about an exclusivity clause, saying it’s “not what good neighbours do”.

“Yes, there is a confidentiality agreement, and we will assess the terms and we will take the appropriate measures under advisement,” Mr Tong replied.

He did not mention if the deal contains an exclusivity clause.

Social return also important, not just economic

The revenue that comes from hosting these concerts — namely Taylor Swift, Coldplay and Jacky Cheung — go into “non-revenue generating, highly impactful social events”, Mr Tong added.

“To us, it is equally important that we have social return,” he said.

Elaborating on the social return from high-revenue generating concerts, the minister noted that Kallang Alive Sport Management (KASM) reserves some tickets for beneficiaries from lower-income or at-risk families.

It works with SportCares, SG Cares Volunteer Centre, SouthEast CDC and other organisations to reach such families. Volunteers from these organisations also get tickets.

Every deal is different, not only grants provided

Mr Tong also responded to Aljunied GRC and Workers’ PartyMP Gerald Giam’s question on how the negotiations went.

“STB assesses whether to give grants on a case-by-case basis, judiciously weighing up the benefits which might accrue to Singapore if the event were brought in,” he said.

He noted that not every case requires a grant and that every event has different considerations attached.

Mr Tong said that while planning to host Taylor Swift, the Government thought holistically about whether to have her perform in Singapore. Given her tour history, it would have been “very difficult” to have her perform for only one or two nights.

“We had to look at that as quite a material consideration for discussing with the Taylor Swift team on how long and for what duration to host her in Singapore. And we also have to judge what’s the demand that we have in the local market,” he said.

Mr Tong noted that the decision to host her concert tour here was made partly based on the “number of Swifties in the region”.

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Featured image adapted from Edwin Tong on Facebook.

Jonathan Yee

Jonathan is a bedroom headbanger. His Kobo is never far from him.

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