Paul Chu (back row, showing a “peace” sign) markets the multiple facets of Singapore as a Senior Manager at STB Jakarta. He is a recipient of the Full term Overseas Scholarship and studied Sociology, Psychology and Politics at Cambridge University. He also went through an MA Program in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.
Very few things bring about a sense of childlike wonder more than being a tourist in a foreign land. With this in mind, it is easy to see why tourism is one of Singapore’s key service sectors and economic pillar.
Beyond just attracting visitors, tourism plays an essential role in marketing Singapore’s status as a vibrant global city and a prime location for business and leisure. A dynamic tourism sector also enhances the quality and diversity of leisure options for residents, as well as helping to create a living environment that Singaporeans can be proud to call home.
For that, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) champions the development, marketing and promotion of Singapore as a tourism destination. STB also works with key industry stakeholders to ensure the success and sustainable growth of the sector. Over the years, STB and tourism industry players have continued to innovate and create value for visitors.
To help meet its objectives, the statutory board has an international reach, with an extensive network of 20 regional offices spanning across the globe today.
Paul Chu, a Senior Manager at STB, is currently based in Jakarta, Indonesia. The recipient of STB’s Full term Overseas Scholarship shares his experience working at STB.
Like many of his peers in the tourism sector, Paul loves to travel the world to experience different cultures. He has always been intrigued by the food, the people and the way of life in other countries.
A Singaporean at heart, he decided to join STB with the aim of telling the country’s unique story to the rest of the world. “Singapore has many lesser-known, interesting ways of life beyond our image as a cosmopolitan urban hub. I wish to promote the other aspects of our country to visitors,” says Paul.
Currently, he is doing just that from STB Jakarta, where he puts together campaigns and initiatives to market Singapore as a destination of choice for both business and leisure to Indonesians. Paul will be banking on his practical experience to create a significant impact in his market.
In particular, Paul was instrumental in putting together ARTWALK Little India, a public art festival in partnership with LASALLE College of the Arts and Little India Shopkeepers & Heritage Association from 2016 to 2019. He feels that the art festival is a defining moment in his STB career so far.
“The festival grew manifold in visitorship and doubled in length, bringing more colour to the community and promoting businesses in the Little India precinct. It was fulfilling to see how businesses went from removing the murals after the initial editions of the festival, to having most of the murals still standing today. This project allowed me to marry my love for art and culture into a tangible project.”
“I am grateful that STB allows young officers with little work experience to take ownership and drive projects.”
On a broader perspective, Paul appreciates the work done by STB.
He explains: “STB plays many roles for a variety of industries in Singapore’s tourism ecosystem, such as entertainment, dining, hotels, tours and cruises. We support initiatives from the private sector and seek to drive innovation by catalysing the change.”
“In all aspects of work, STB pushes for year-on-year growth in visitor arrivals and spending, sometimes even planning for infrastructural developments a decade in advance. The challenge is to keep things fresh in Singapore to sustain its appeal as a destination, while not losing authenticity in our branding.”
His sense of mission will surely bode well in his career with STB. As much as Paul is passionate about his role, he is thankful for being awarded with the scholarship. Without which, he would not have been able to contribute to the sector in the way he did.
“The Scholarship programme granted me the opportunity to study in the United Kingdom and the United States for four years. At the same time, it provided stability so I could focus on my passion for the modules and overseas experience while I was there. My time abroad was absolutely amazing,” he recounts.
He encourages students to take a similar path, and hopes to see people with the right mindset and enthusiasm for tourism join him at STB.
“STB offers an interesting Management Associate scheme that allows fresh graduates to rotate between two departments within the board in the first year.”
“Be a sponge and soak up the different aspects of work that the board engages in. I have gained many insights about STB as an organisation that goes beyond the marketing component and the departments I served.”
He concludes: “My time in STB so far has opened my eyes to the board’s diverse work in far-reaching corners of the tourism ecosystem, many parts unseen to Singaporeans. I have gained respect for STB’s mandate, and seen how meaningful and fun the work can be.”