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Chinatown looks to Christmas celebration market to boost traffic as major Chinese markets dry up

Singapore – Chinatown celebrates Christmas in a big way this year. A two-day festival market is held in December, where visitors can shop for arts and crafts, attend workshops, and enjoy massages while enjoying performances by street performers.

Held on December 17-18 from 11am to 8pm on Pagoda and Smith Streets, the event will see Chinatown’s main market, which makes up about 40% of Chinatown’s tourist pool, grow from overseas. Zero Covid-19 policy for countries restricting travel. Tourists now mainly come from Europe, Australia, India and Southeast Asia.

Chinatown had hosted a Christmas market for the past two years to boost traffic during the pandemic, but Sago Street only had festive goods such as candles and Christmas decorations.

In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, visitors contribute a good cause when spending time at the festive market. Members of the Singapore Association of the Blind (SAVH) and the organizer Chinatown Business Association (CBA) Under the partnership, they sell the arts and crafts they create, conduct workshops, and perform massages and street performances.

The Singapore Red Cross Society is another non-profit organization that sells crafts made by its members at the festival market.

CBA Executive Director Lim Yick Suan said workshops such as fan painting, paper cutting and basket weaving are priced 30% below commercial rates to increase appeal to visitors. .

There are also theatrical walking tours with guides playing fictional characters such as early immigrants Ah Huat and Majie Feng Jie. Majie is a woman from Guangdong, where she became a domestic servant from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Stall owners welcome festive markets and other efforts to draw in crowds.

The gift stall owner, who wanted to be identified only as Robin, said he left Chinatown in 2020 after his business stopped. We have resumed.

“Now business with European customers is slowly recovering,” he said. “Chinese tourists used to be my main customers. I miss them because they spend a lot of money.”

Some are optimistic about future business improvements, even if the absence of Chinese tourists is prolonged.

George Su, 56, who sells Chinese souvenirs such as chopsticks and trinkets on Sago Street, said his business dropped 80% during the pandemic but has recovered 60% thanks to increased foot traffic.

“Chinese customers who have disappeared almost never buy my Chinese souvenirs anyway. Europeans, Indonesians and Indians find my products unique and interesting.”

He added: “Even stuffed rabbits and decorations for Chinese New Year are selling well, and some Europeans say they hang these on his tree for Christmas in his hometown.”

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/chinatown-eyes-christmas-festive-market-to-boost-footfall-as-key-china-market-dries-up Chinatown looks to Christmas celebration market to boost traffic as major Chinese markets dry up

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