Tourism and the Southeast Asian crises of 1997 and 1998: A view from Singapore

A. A. Lew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Singapore has historically stood out as an economic anomaly among countries in the developing world. Its per capita income was higher than most industrialised countries, its government was relatively uncorrupt, and despite the economic difficulties experienced throughout Asia starting in 1997, it was still rated as one of the safest places in the world for investments. Starting in 1997 and extending through 1998, Singapore was hit by three major crises: the currency turmoil affecting its neighbours (especially Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia); the El Nino-driven forest fires on Borneo and Sumatra that filled Singapore's air with brown smoke; and the political and social crises in Malaysia and Indonesia. These three crises brought international, intra-regional and domestic tourism in Southeast Asia to a near standstill. Singapore received some benefits from these problems as currency from neighbouring countries flew into Singapore in search of a safe haven, thereby supporting the Singapore dollar, and ethnic Chinese and others flew to Singapore to escape both the choking smoke from forest fires and the political unrest in Indonesia, and filled Singapore's hotels. Singapore weathered these varied crises quite well, and ultimately Singapore may emerge in an even stronger position as the economic powerhouse of Southeast Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-315
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Issues in Tourism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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