Singapore will be hoping that a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – and the ensuing publicity – will encourage a tourism boom in the South East Asian city-state.
The young royals have been taking in various sites across the metropolis as they continue their Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East and the Pacific.
Although tourist-friendly options have been low on the agenda – with the day focused on sides of the city that show its modernity, including a Rolls Royce engineering campus – the couple have enjoyed the intriguing experience of the Gardens By The Bay.
This 250-acre enclave of reclaimed land, at the heart of the conurbation, is a striking pocket of green, where outlandish ‘supertrees’ rise up to 50 metres into the sky.
Designed as dense ‘vertical gardens’, these lofty creations are crammed with a rich mixture of vines, ferns and orchids.
The latter is particularly prescient. The couple opted to pay a visit to the gardens because it features an orchid named after Princess Diana, the Duke’s late mother.
Other stops on the schedule have included Queenstown – a satellite town outside the main body of the city that was so named to mark the Queen’s coronation in 1953.
Oddly British in appearance, this upmarket enclave was built on swampy ground, but has now grown into one of Singapore’s more desirable suburbs.
There can be a tendency to view Singapore as a simple stop-off point for international travellers flying between Europe and the rest of the Far East, or Australasia – but the city will be keen to push its visitor attractions as the news cameras continue to roll.
The long avenue of Orchard Road is noted for its shops, while the Marina Bay Sands resort is an aspirational complex of hotels, casinos and malls. In contrast, the iconic Raffles Hotel is often viewed as one of the world’s most stylishly traditional retreats.
Perched at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is built across 63 separate islands. It has had a close connection with Britain since 1819, when the signing of a treaty by Sir Thomas Raffles, on behalf of the British East India Company, laid the groundwork for a trading post that would become a hugely affluent metropolis.
The Duke and Duchess have travelled to the Far East as part of a wider programme of royal visits, designed to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which has also seen Prince Harry touring locations – such as Jamaica – in the Caribbean.
The couple’s journey, which began yesterday, runs until September 19, and will also take in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian portion of the rainforest-clad island of Borneo – as well as the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu in the Pacific.
Encounters with the young couple have ensured positive coverage for destinations in other corners of the globe.
Last year, the Duke and Duchess headed to the USA and Canada in their first tour as a married couple. Notably, they called at the Alberta city of Calgary, where they sported white cowboy hats ahead of the annual Calgary Stampede rodeo event.