Eras Tour Singapore defends Taylor Swift39s exclusive Southeast Asia stop

Eras Tour: Singapore defends Taylor Swift's exclusive Southeast Asia stop after neighbors misbehave

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Taylor Swift at the Eras Tour at the National Stadium on March 2, 2024 in Singapore.


Singapore draws fans from across Southeast Asia and beyond to Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, much to the chagrin of the city-state's regional neighbors.

The anger is directed not at the superstar but at the Singapore government over an exclusive deal with concert promoters to ensure the city-state is the only place in Southeast Asia where she performs.

Swift has brought a windfall to Singapore – as she usually does wherever she goes – as fans buy flights, accommodation and souvenirs in the city-state.

But countries in the region have expressed displeasure with Philippine lawmaker Joey Salceda, who said exclusive deals are not “what good neighbors do.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong responded to the criticism on Tuesday, saying Singapore was not being “unfriendly” to its neighbors by striking a deal with the superstar.

“[Our] “The agencies have negotiated an agreement with her to come to Singapore and perform and make Singapore her only stop in Southeast Asia,” Lee said at a news conference in Melbourne during a state visit to Australia.

“She was offered certain incentives and an agreement was reached. It turned out to be a very successful agreement. I don’t see that as unkind.”

“If we hadn’t made such an agreement, would it have come to more places in Southeast Asia? Maybe, maybe not?” he added.

Singapore officials had previously admitted that they had offered Swift a grant, with the country's Culture Minister Edward Tong downplaying the size of the grant, saying on Monday that “it is not accurate and nowhere near as high as speculated.”

Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin claimed during a business forum in Bangkok on February 16 that Singapore paid Taylor Swift up to $3 million per show on the condition that she be allowed to perform exclusively in the country.

Swift's team has not commented on the controversy and did not respond to CNN's request for a response. In both Thailand and the Philippines, major international music acts have recently been passing through and delighting fans, including Coldplay.

The Eras Tour is a cross-continental extravaganza that has become the highest-grossing tour of all time – and Swift is making Singapore big money.

Swift plays six sold-out nights to 300,000 fans in Singapore, where 70% of concertgoers arrive from overseas and spend up to $370 million in the city-state, a Maybank economist estimates.

According to Edmund Ong, general manager of travel platform in Singapore, flights to Singapore increased 186% and accommodation bookings increased almost fivefold between March 1 and 9, when Swift was in the city.

These major global music events are a boon for Singapore's travel-related services, which can account for up to 10% of its GDP, wrote Yun Liu, ASEAN economist at HSBC, in a recent note.


Filipino fans Errol De Asis, Gilliane Granada, Christel Kaye Kuan and Yedda Mendoza headed to Singapore for the Eras Tour.

Fans from the Philippines, Thailand, China and other countries in the region have spent thousands on concert and plane tickets to watch Swift perform, as well as whatever it takes to complete the experience with sequined dresses and themed costumes.

For many Filipino fans, a trip to Singapore can be a big expense. According to the World Bank, the Philippines' GDP per capita is about $3,500 per year. In comparison, Singapore is one of the richest places in the world, with a per capita GDP of $83,000, where the average person earns more than 23 times their income.

Filipino fan Charlyn Suizo is among those embarking on an expensive pilgrimage to watch Swift, giving their all to the once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza.

“This is the largest amount I have ever spent on a concert. “I’ve never really spent large sums of six figures (Philippine peso) on anyone else, just Taylor Swift,” Suizo said.

Singapore's currency is one of the strongest in Asia, making everything relatively expensive for travelers from emerging markets in the region.

Gilliane Granada, 24, who traveled from the Philippines with three other friends, said that although it was more expensive for her to travel to Singapore for the concert, it made sense to hold it in the city-state.

“I don’t think we would have a venue big enough to accommodate them, their stage, their production and all of that. I think that's probably one of the reasons why they decided to build it here in Singapore, because it's a great stadium,” Granada said.

Her friend, Christel Kaye Kuan, 25, said they all spent about $2,000 on tickets and flight accommodations for the trip, adding that they could at least make it their first international trip as friends.

That's about six times the national average monthly wage in the Philippines, according to the government's latest census data.

But it’s worth it “because we get to see Taylor.”