Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If 40 percent of museum visitors are tourists, then how many locals are visiting?


Ah Tan walked into the meeting room with a few pieces of papers in his right hand. Three managers from the Tourism Board were already seated at the table, each of them as jittery as the one next to him. Ah Tan took the chairman seat and cleared his throat.

AH TAN: Gentlemen, I understand that you've just released a piece of interesting news to the press.
MANAGER A: Yes Sir! "Singapore Flyer gets 5,000 visitors on first full day of operations"! That was really one piece of good news!
AH TAN (pointing finger at the three managers): No! I'm not talking about that! And yes! About the Flyer! You people had better make sure that preposterous incident don't repeat itself! Everybody all over the world will be watching it now and waiting for the next stuck-in-flyer-for-6-freaking-hours to happen again!
MANAGER B: Yes Sir! We've formed a committee to stay alert watching the Flyer everyday during its operating hours!
AH TAN: You people had better know what you're doing. I'm sure you won't want to take the blame and leave as well right?
ALL MANAGERS (together): No Sir!

Ah Tan placed the few pieces of papers on the table.

AH TAN: What I'm talking about is this piece of news. "Tourists account for 40% of total museum visitors in 2008". Do you know what does this mean?
MANAGER A: Er... that tourists like to go to Singapore museums?
AH TAN: And?
MANAGER C: Er... and it means we should be able to raise the museum admission charges now?
AH TAN: So that the headline next year can be "40% drop in the number of tourists visiting museum in 2009"? No you idiot!

Manager C swallowed, took out a pack of tissue from his pocket and grabbed a piece to wipe the perspiration off his forehead.

AH TAN (sighing): This means only 60% of the total museum visitors are locals. Don't you see the problem here? With the economy getting that bad, less tourists will come to Singapore. Which means that if the locals don't go to museums, nobody will! Are you ready to close some of these museums?
ALL MANAGERS (together): Ohh...
AH TAN: You need to focus more on reaching out to the locals! Make them go to the museums!
MANAGER A: Er... Sir, the locals? They're just not there you know? Their educational and cultural level... our museums are not built to attract this group of people. Our museums are marketed towards the those rich ang mohs who are fasinated by Asian culture.
AH TAN: Well, then change your marketing strategy! You'll need to attract Singaporeans now, especially the heartlanders!
MANAGER B: But they're simply not interested!
AH TAN: Then get them interested! That idea to make use of what's-that-guy's-name to bring the locals around the National Museum was not a bad one. Do more of these!
MANAGER C: Oh! You mean Mark Lee! So we should get more Ah Bengs and Ah Lians to bring the locals to museums?

All stared at Manager C so hard it was as if the stares could set him on fire.

MANAGER B: Hmm... Ah! I know what! We should invite the casts from "The Little Nonya" to bring the locals around the Peranakan Museum!
MANAGER A: And to attract the youngsters, we should invite famous bloggers like Mr Brown and Xiaxue to promote the Asian Civilisations Museum!
MANAGER C: And Daphne Ang and Jake to promote the Singapore Art Museum!
AH TAN, MANAGER A, MANAGER B (together shouting): What?!!

Manager C grinned apologetically and grabbed another piece of tissue to wipe the perspiration off his forehead.

MANAGER A: Erm... Sir, do we need to lower the museum admission charges as well? Maybe if it's cheaper, more locals will go?
AH TAN: No! The locals will only be attracted if it's free, not cheaper! So don't bother about lowering the charges.
MANAGER B: But we can't make it free for locals! That'll badly affect our margin!
AH TAN: Make it free on selective days.
MANAGER B: Like on a weekday during working hours like 2 to 5pm?
AH TAN: That's an idea... but you'll have to throw in some public holidays or weekends once in a while, or else the locals will complain that we're not sincere.
MANAGER B: Oh... okay...

Manager A had a deep thought, frowned and folded his arms.

MANAGER A: But Sir, this still doesn't solve the problem that lots of the locals are not educated and cultural enough to visit the museums.
AH TAN: Well... we can't bring down the standard of our museums just to accomodate these people. Don't forget that the ang mohs are still our main target.
MANAGER A (sighing): You're right...
AH TAN: Well gentlemen, you'll just have to work on it then. Go back and think about it, and bring me a proposal by next week.
ALL MANAGERS (together): Yes Sir!



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