'Passion Made Possible' gets a mixed reception

Reactions to Singapore's new slogan Passion Made Possible, have been mixed, with industry players mostly praising it, while early indications are that tourists have their reservations.

What they did agree on was that the new branding attempts to capture the heart and soul of Singapore.

Ms Yu Yah-Leng, creative director of brand agency Foreign Policy Design Group, said: "...We are not just showing our grand architecture and the Merlion, but that we have our little cultures we are proud of and our lifestyles that we want to talk about."

The slogan, the result of a partnership between the Singapore Tourism Board and the Economic Development Board, was unveiled on Thursday.

Chan Brothers Travel's marketing communications executive Justine Koh said removing the word "Singapore" from the slogan changes the focus to the nation's "soul and mindset".

Industry experts have noted more interest in going beyond the main attractions.

Founder of Ruby Dot Trails, Ms Shalini Lalwani, said the number of tourists going for her "heartlands tour" has grown by about 40 per cent this year over last.

But the general manager of Diethelm Travel, Ms Judy Lum, said that while the new slogan "tells the world about Singaporeans, it does not tell the world about Singapore".

Tourists were ambivalent.

Ms Dorothea Volz, a public relations agent from Germany, said that experiencing the way locals live is "the tourist dream".

But she said if the shift means too many tourists entering Singapore's heartland, it could negatively impact citizens, who might end up feeling like tourist attractions.

Ms Volz, 35, visited Singapore for four days last month.

She added that the word "passion" gave her pause: "If I think about it in an innocent way, it sounds a bit like a retreat slogan.

"And if I think not so innocently, it could be for some kind of escort service."

Dutchman Bjorn van Noord, 26, who spent 51/2 days here in February, said that though the slogan was "a bit over the top", it fit his impression of the country.

The network planner at a bus company said: "I perceived Singapore as a very diverse community with people from all parts of Asia and the world who came to build a new life and live together, so Passion Made Possible makes sense to me."