As the travel industry continues to recover from COVID-19, travellers are discovering not only new places to holiday but also how some of their favourite destinations have changed during the pandemic.
In 2022, Singapore recorded a little over 57,000 arrivals from New Zealand, with the average stay lasting three to four days. This year the country is expecting a big increase of 90-122 percent more international visitors than last year.
To attract more tourists, Singapore is promoting its new and enhanced attractions like the Museum of Ice Cream, Supertree Observatory and SkyHelix Sentosa.
Oliver Chong, Executive Director at the Singapore Tourism Board, said the industry has had an influx of new members as people re-evaluated their careers during the pandemic, leading to impressive innovation.
"I think Singapore has always been quite big on innovation. Maybe it's a survival thing - you know, as a small country we really need to constantly innovate in order to keep up with the times," Chong told Newshub.
"But I think the pandemic has gotten us to think more carefully about the future and we are seeing that pace of innovation really picking up. As a tourism destination, we are pleased to see some of the new ideas coming forth and helping us to be in a better place for the future."
Singapore has long enjoyed the reputation of its world class dining scene, but that too has rapidly evolved over the past few years. Many restaurants were forced to close during the pandemic, but in their place are several new ones, as well as other that survived COVID-19 but have a new outlook.
There is now more of a focus on sustainability, Chong said, with many more farm-to-table menus on offer.
"We also have world famous chefs coming into Singapore to do pop-ups and collaborations with the local restaurants as the high-end, fine dining scene enjoys a tremendous revival," said Chong.
"On the other end of the spectrum is our hawker culture, one of our staples that is now inscribed by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage. It's so important for us to keep that alive and now - partly due to the pandemic - many young folks are getting into this scene.
"Some of them are learning the traditional ways from older folks who have no one to pass it on to. But there's also a whole breed of 'hawkerpreneurs', we call them, putting a new twist on the traditional or doing something completely different altogether.
"That has led to the hawker scene not just offering the traditional fare we've come to love and miss when we travel out of Singapore, but also be able to try different things thanks to the young hawkerpreneurs. That's been amazing and we are seeing that taking place right now."
In addition to the fine dining and hawker scenes, there are plenty of unique themed restaurants to check out in the country - some of which have only opened in the past year.
If you're keen on a unique dining experience in Singapore, here are five quirky options to consider:
Located in Kampong Gelam, Sushi Airways is Singapore’s first and only aeroplane-themed restaurant. Serving fresh sashimi, sushi and lobster, this restaurant promises to amuse frequent flyers and sushi lovers alike.
Jurassic Nest Food Hall at Gardens by the Bay
An exciting dining experience aimed at families and keen foodies alike, Singapore’s first dinosaur-themed food hall boasts cuisine from Michelin-starred brands including Hawker Chan, Tsuta and Bismallah Biryani.
Nox Dine in the Dark
Diners are invited to take a plunge into darkness to experience the sensation of eating without sight at NOX Dine in the Dark. It's a sensory dining experience said to stimulate a heightened culinary journey through taste, smell, touch and sound.
Las Palmas Rooftop Bar
Described as a 'dreamy poolside paradise', Las Palmas serves curated storytelling cocktails with panoramic views of the Singapore skyline and a spectacular infinity pool.
Entirely decorated with black and white perspective lines, Café Monochrome aims to transport customers into a 2D world. If you have ever dreamed about what it might be like to step inside a comic book, this could be your chance.