Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has recruited a new area director for the Middle East and Africa region.

Mohamed Hafez Marican has taken over from Jason Ong, who has moved on to take on a new Singapore-based role as assistant director, Arts with the Singapore Tourism Board.

Marican said: “Singapore is now a firm destination favourite among Middle East travellers, and we intend to continue to build on that brand promise of excellence. There is truly so much on offer for regional visitors – from arts and culture to sport, entertainment, and gaming, but also much for the Middle East’s growing businesses which can learn from Singapore’s many world-leading organizations and institutions of higher learning."

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Middle Eastern visitors to Singapore are around 150,000 - which amounts to a 50% jump in three years, according to Singapore Tourism Board.

Moving forward the STB office in Dubai will be focused on strengthening the understanding between the people of the Middle East and Singapore. This year, the office has successfully inaugurated the Middle East launch of two programs – the Global Chef Exchange, where Middle East chefs undergo a short program in Singapore on Singaporean cuisine; and the  “Transformational Learning Journey”, a unique programme leveraging Singapore’s work culture and ethics to deliver Executive Training programs.

In 2012, STB will use these as a platform to realise Singapore’s creative and academic vision in the Middle East. ArtStage Singapore is the first international premier arts fair in Singapore’s 2012 calendar. Running 12 – 15 January at the world-class luxury Marina Bay Sands, it is the jewel in the cultural crown for Asia’s arts industry. In 2011, Malini Gulrajani from 1x1 Gallery took part in the event by exhibiting five avant garde artists who specialise in contemporary art.