Taylor Swift Eras Tour – How a Musical Legend Boosted Tokyo and Singapore’s Economies

Taylor Swift Eras Tour – How a Musical Legend Boosted Tokyo and Singapore’s Economies

Whether you're a dedicated Swiftie or not, one thing is undeniable: Taylor Swift holds immense power, and it's making waves in economies worldwide, particularly in Asia. 

As part of her monumental global concert, The Eras Tour, which has now exceeded US$1 billion in sales worldwide, she made stops in Asia, specifically in Tokyo and Singapore. While some Asian fans lamented the limited number of countries visited on the tour, many still flocked from various corners of the continent to witness her performances in either Tokyo or Singapore. In Singapore alone, Swift's six sold-out concerts were projected to generate a staggering US$260 million to US$375 million in tourism receipts, according to Erica Tay, Maybank's director of macro research, as reported by The Washington Post

This economic phenomenon, aptly dubbed "Swiftonomics," illustrates the remarkable boost experienced by destinations hosting Swift's tour. Economists have even revised Singapore's first-quarter growth forecast upwards, with a projected GDP expansion of 2.9 percent—the fastest pace in six quarters—largely attributed to Swift's concerts, according to CNA

Prior to Swift's visit, other renowned artists like Coldplay and Ed Sheeran had already graced Singapore, further contributing to the city-state's economic momentum. “Concert economics" is being used as a burgeoning growth driver, with expectations of adding hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism receipts, writes CNBC

In preparation for such monumental events, nations like Singapore and Japan undertook extensive logistical and promotional efforts to maximise the economic benefits. From enhancing tourism promotion strategies to coordinating logistical arrangements, countries seized the opportunity presented by Swift's concerts to bolster their economies and leverage her immense popularity. 

Taylor Swift Eras Tour 2024 - Concert Dates & Venue 

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Taylor Swift launched her monumental Eras Tour with back-to-back sold-out performances at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on March 17th and 18th, 2023. Over a year into the tour, this three-hour spectacle has traversed the globe, spanning continents from the US and Europe to Australia and Asia. Celebrating Swift's illustrious 17-year career, the Eras Tour pays homage to her extensive discography, featuring songs from all 10 of her studio albums.  

In Asia, Taylor Swift made two stops on her Eras Tour. First, she performed four shows at Tokyo's Tokyo Dome in February. Then, she dazzled audiences with six sold-out nights in Singapore in March, entertaining a total of 300,000 fans. Currently, Swift is taking a brief break from the tour. She will resume performances in Paris at LA DÉFENSE ARENA on May 9th, with Paramore as a guest performer. After Paris, Swift's tour will continue with stops in Sweden, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, before making her way back to France.

Taylor Swift Concert Tour Ticket Prices & Entry 

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

One of the major challenges that fans have encountered during Swift's Eras Tour is ticket scalping. Numerous ticket sellers have attempted to resell tickets to eager fans at exorbitant prices, often doubling or even tripling the original ticket price. 

Securing tickets firsthand hasn't been easy for fans, especially in Asia. In Japan, tickets were allocated through a lottery system, adding an element of chance to the process. Meanwhile, in Singapore, presales were exclusively available to credit card holders at United Overseas Bank. However, even after signing up, some fans faced lengthy waits to receive confirmation, despite eagerly joining the waitlist as soon as it opened, as reported by NBC News

As a result, numerous fans were forced to turn to second-hand sellers in their quest for tickets. Platforms like Carousell provided one avenue, although the platform later had to take action by removing all live listings of Taylor Swift concert tickets due to the prevalence of scams. Alternatively, Viagogo emerged as another option, but tickets often came with a hefty price tag and less-than-desirable seating arrangements. 

Klook aimed to ease the process, by bundling concert tickets with a hotel stay as the Official Experience Partner for the Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour in Singapore. “We implemented an app-only approach that ensured fans tagged with a unique ID had a fair chance to secure tickets, eliminating the need for multiple devices and accounts that could strain the platform,” Sarah Wan, general manager, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Klook, says. “This helped enhance the overall ticketing experience while deterring sophisticated bots regularly employed by scalpers.” She said they saw over half a million fans in the queue when the sale of the Klook Experience Packages went live on July 7th. “Beyond Singapore, we tracked the highest bookings from Swifties in the Philippines, China, Indonesia and Hong Kong,” she explains, “With customers willing to spend more than US$1,300 (S$1,700) on these exclusive packages, we saw the most coveted packages for Category 1 tickets and 4–5-star hotels sell out in just two hours.” 

Marriott Bonvoy, the renowned travel programme by Marriott International, offered special initiatives for Swifties. Beginning December 19th, 2023, registered members from select Asia Pacific destinations had the opportunity to win tickets to Taylor Swift's Eras Tour in Tokyo, held from February 7th – 10th, 2024. The prize package featured two tickets to the sensational show along with an exclusive Marriott Bonvoy welcome gift. 

Marina Bay Sands seized the opportunity of Taylor Swift's Eras Tour by offering luxury accommodation and dining packages paired with VIP concert tickets. These packages, priced from S$10,000 to S$50,000, quickly sold out after their launch in November, with over 90% of bookings from overseas. 

Similarly, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore saw near-peak occupancy levels during this period. Their “Swift Sojourn” room package, launched in July last year, was highly popular among guests traveling to Singapore specifically for the concerts. This package was carefully designed to enhance The Eras Tour concert experience, offering seamless travel arrangements to and from the National Stadium, including complimentary two-way transfers. Moreover, guests were treated to a specially curated menu, available for both dine-in and takeaway, offering a delightful culinary experience tailored to their convenience. 

The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore's Lantern rooftop bar debuted the “T.S. We Love You” menu throughout March. This unique menu showcased themed dishes and artisanal cocktails inspired by Taylor Swift's songs and quotes. As part of the offering, a celebratory '1989' table package was introduced for groups of up to six guests, priced at S$1989++. This exclusive package included two bottles of Dom Pérignon Champagne, one bottle of Belvedere Vodka, six themed artisanal cocktails, and a curated menu featuring M7 wagyu striploin with red wine jus, sliders, and gourmet bar snacks. 

Image Courtesy of The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore

During a two-week period starting from February 28th, Marina Bay Sands offered a plethora of Taylor Swift-themed attractions. Irene Lin, Chief Marketing Officer, Resort Marketing at Marina Bay Sands, explains, “As Presenting Partner for the concert tour, we worked closely with Taylor Swift’s team to create exclusive experiences on property that celebrated her musicality and growth through the different eras.” These experiences included a specially themed light and water show on the Event Plaza choreographed to four of Taylor Swift’s best-loved songs, a visually immersive “Eras Trail” providing Instagrammable moments for guests, and a retail pop-up at Sands Expo & Convention Centre offering official tour merchandise. Lin adds, “From an in-house creative team who crafted a special show featuring dancing fountain jets and vibrant visual projections synchronised to her songs, to event management personnel ensuring orderly queues and a smooth experience for all fans, Marina Bay Sands activated multiple departments for the extravaganza on property.” 

Taylor Swift Concert Tour Impact on Singapore Economy 

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

According to Trip.com statistics shared with BurdaLuxury, during the Taylor Swift concert period from March 1st to March 9th, 2024, the total volume of Singapore-related bookings surged by 275% compared to the same period two weeks later, from March 15th to March 23rd, 2024. In a detailed breakdown, inbound flights to Singapore increased by 186%, accommodation bookings nearly quintupled to 462%, and bookings for attractions and tours skyrocketed by an astounding 2,373%. 

During the Taylor Swift concert period from March 1st to March 9th, the average age of users making bookings was 33, slightly younger than the average age of 37.2 during the period from March 15th to March 23rd. Notably, nearly half (48%) of the users who made bookings during the Taylor Swift concert period fell within the 21-30 age range, doubling the proportion compared to the later period. According to Trip.com data, the top sources of tourism during the Taylor Swift concert period were Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, the United States, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Japan, and South Korea. While visitors from the Philippines ranked among the top 5 during the Taylor Swift concert period, they did not make it to the top 10 list two weeks after the concert period. Additionally, Trip.com data indicated an increase in Indonesian visitors during the concert period. 

Besides ticket bookings, events and activities also saw an uptick in bookings. “Mega-events in general, encompassing festivals, concerts, major sporting events, bring immense economic benefits driven by high tourist spending as they seek additional services and experiences to supplement their trip,” shares Klook’s Wan. She says that they saw a 50% increase in demand for these activities during periods when mega-events like concerts are in Singapore. “Based on our data, typically, a tourist attending a concert or event can hit an incremental spending of 5x the face ticket value. Based on an average ticket price, we expect a traveller to spend an additional US$800 on local hotels, restaurants, experiences and more,” adds Wan. 

“Taylor Swift's cultural impact transcends music. Her concerts in Singapore attracted hundreds of thousands of fans, including many who travelled overseas to be here. This form of entertainment tourism benefits multiple players in the industry,” notes Marina Bay Sands’ Lin, “From sold-out merchandise and increased footfall across The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, to the immense popularity of Taylor Swift I The Eras Tour Trail and the special rendition of our nightly Light & Water Show, the resoundingly positive feedback from local and international visitors speaks volumes of the success of our Taylor Swift-related initiatives.” 

Numerous hotels experienced a surge in bookings during Taylor Swift's Singapore concerts. “There was definitely a surge in hotel bookings surrounding Taylor Swift’s concert in Singapore and the market saw an increase of 14% in occupancy when compared to same time last year 2023,” says Four Seasons Singapore’s director of marketing, Shengwen Chua, “The influx of visitors has a multifaceted impact on the overall local economy with a significant impact on hotel revenues but also with increased spending on restaurants and bars pre- and post-concert. There has been strong coverage in the media with Taylor Swift’s concert and this has definitely led to an increase in visibility for the destination.” 

“Artists like Taylor Swift contribute to a region's economy by driving tourism and hospitality, boosting venue revenue, supporting local businesses, creating jobs, promoting local culture, generating media exposure, and selling merchandise. Their concerts stimulate economic activity and enhance the overall prosperity of the host area,” adds Kelvin Soh, hotel manager at Lloyd's Inn Singapore, “Taylor Swift's performances have garnered positive feedbacks in the hospitality and tourism industry, we are supportive that Singapore should continue to host more international artistes to boost tourism.” 

“The growing presence of international acts performing in Singapore underscores its appeal as a premier destination for global entertainment. This has undoubtedly helped to boost the tourism and hospitality sector, especially with Singapore’s distinction as an exclusive Southeast Asian venue for major performances such as The Eras Tour,” shares Gino Tan, country general manager of The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts. 

During her tour between Tokyo and Singapore, Taylor Swift also visited Australia, prompting Ovolo's senior marketing communications manager Toby Franklin to note that they observed booking rates comparable to those typically seen only around New Year's Eve. “Our bar, Alibi had a special Taylor Swift cocktail menu which featured four cocktails and two mocktails, it went really well and people loved it,” he says. 

John Toomey, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Asia Pacific (excluding China) at Marriott International, noted a significant increase in bookings during Taylor Swift's concert dates in Tokyo and Singapore. Occupancy rates for Marriott Bonvoy's hotels surged by nearly 20% compared to the corresponding period the previous year. In Tokyo, certain hotels even achieved a peak occupancy of 95% during The Eras Tour. Reports indicate that fans spend approximately ¥800 million on transportation and ¥1 billion on accommodation, underscoring the tour's economic impact, adds Toomey. “Exclusive agreements, like Singapore hosting The Eras Tour's Southeast Asia leg, create a surge in economic activity. During the six-day concert period, Singapore experienced a significant influx of Swifties from across Southeast Asia, contributing to the region's economic vitality,” he says. 

Many Swifties flew in from all across Asia to watch one or both of Swift’s only two shows in the region. One fan, Christabel Chung, attended both concerts as she knew it would be a “once in a lifetime experience”. “I was fortunate enough to secure VIP 1 tickets for the Tokyo show, and the moment Taylor made eye contact and winked at me, I knew that every effort I had put into attending was completely worth it,” she says, “She is an exceptional performer and songwriter, and getting to be there in her presence felt like I was a part of music history.”  


Similarly with Alison Hau, a well-known radio DJ and presenter for Hong Kong’s RTHK, going to see Swift in concert was a no-brainer. Attending the Singapore show, she describes the experience as being immersed in "Swiftie-land," with staff at Marina Bay Sands asking her about her favourite Taylor Swift song and music blasting across the property. “The opportunity felt like more than just ‘watching a show’ – it was my first time travelling since January 2020! What better way to experience Singapore than to celebrate with 61,000 other Swifties?” she shares. 

Controversy 

Swift's visits to Japan and Singapore were enthusiastically received, though there was some backlash from other Southeast Asian countries after it was disclosed that Singapore had secured an exclusive deal, making it her only stop in the region.  

While some Swifties have understandably expressed disappointment over the exclusive arrangement with Singapore, preventing them from attending the concert due to high ticket prices or travel expenses, others acknowledge the rationale behind it. Plus, they were delighted to see the massive efforts that were made by the countries. 

“I do applaud Singapore for seeing the power Taylor has on influencing the economy so early on before other countries, so much so to make this deal with her team. Their effort and faith in Swift heavily paid off considering how there were seemingly more international fans compared to locals who attended her concert,” says Christabel Chung. 

RTHK’s Alison Hau concurs. “I think they played it very well, it's worth every bit of that extra investment, because they have gone all-in. Economics already estimated everyone who traveled to Singapore for the show, was ready to spend 3x their ticket price on expenses in the country.” She adds optimistically, “I wish Hong Kong had a chance at such a golden opportunity. Fingers crossed for us, when Kai Tak Stadium opens!” 

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Faye Bradley

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Faye Bradley
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