An amazing industry attachment

From the Deserts of Dubai to the Bright Lights of London
by Ashraf Aris

After enriching the lives of TP’s diploma in Hospitality & Tourism Management (HTM) students for almost 10 years, Lisa Chua decided that it was time for her to get reconnected with the industry she loves.

“I started reaching out to my contacts in the tourism industry sometime in 2015,” said Lisa.

“A former associate of mine from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) happened to be looking for someone who could help look into the strategies that made Dubai and the Middle East a successful air hub, as well as evaluate new marketing strategies in Europe for destination Singapore.”

With the full support of her HTM colleagues, who understood the importance of developing staff capability, she embarked on her Industry Attachment (IA) in April 2016.  

Lisa (right) at a dialogue session with the local Emirati

Lisa spent a month in the Middle East with STB Dubai before heading to Europe for her STB London attachment for another two months.

“One of the things that I was involved in during Project Dubai was the STB Middle East Trade Workshop. As Singapore was viewed as an expensive destination, a perspective change was needed. So instead of using our neighbours like Malaysia and Thailand as a comparison, we used cities like Tokyo, London and New York, where destination offerings are similar,” Lisa recalled.

“We used the Samsung 360 virtual reality camera and wowed STB’s Middle East trade partners with a realistic view of our attractions such as Sentosa and Gardens by the Bay. I have to say, using a VR camera is a really cool and effective tool for destination promotion!”

Lisa’s Project London stint included STB London’s participation in the inaugural Web in Travel (WIT) Europe.

This event featured the industry’s heavy-hitters, such as Priceline, Sabre, AccorHotels, Venture Republic (Japan) and Skyscanner, which aimed to reboot the thinking about travel in Asia. Professional insights on how companies in Europe can work their way into Asia were also shared.

Lisa (extreme right) with her STB London colleagues

After a rewarding IA experience, Lisa returned to TP very much the wiser, and her students are reaping the benefits.

“I find myself constantly citing my experiences in Dubai and London, STB work and policies, and relating them to the subjects that I take them in,” Lisa said.

“Not only has my IA given me the confidence to share my thoughts on current tourism issues, it has also enhanced my credibility in the industry. I am already looking forward to my next IA stint!”