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There will be snow on Orchard Road in Singapore this Christmas

Travel News Asia 11 November 2003

This year, Singapore's Christmas Light-Up promises to bring a heart-warming white Christmas to all in Singapore from 14 November 2003 to 5 January 2004.

Branded as 'Christmas in the Tropics', there will be showers of simulated snow in the area of Orchard Road for the very first time. To mark the 20th Light-Up event STB has said that the launch ceremony promises to be even more spectacular than those of previous years.

Jointly organised by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and the Singapore Tourism Board, the launch ceremony will be officiated by President SR Nathan at Civic Plaza, Ngee Ann City on 14 November.

Tanglin, Orchard and Scotts roads will be dressed up along traditional themes and colours associated with Christmas. Traditional fir-tree garlands decked with shimmering lights and ornaments will be the main feature in this year's Christmas decorations. An arch spanning almost 30 metres located at the Scotts Road junction will be an impressive fantasy of medieval architecture mixed with a colourful display of Christmas gifts at the centre of which sits a star-topped Christmas tree. The Light-Up will be switched on every night from 7pm to midnight. It will be extended to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, and 6am on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Hitachi Asia Ltd continues to be the main sponsor for Christmas Light-Up 2003 for the 13th consecutive year. Expressing their unwavering support for the Christmas Light-Up, Hitachi's Managing Director, Mr Shunsuke Ohtsu says: "Christmas Light-Up is very important to us at Hitachi as it gives us a wonderful opportunity to extend beyond our business responsibilities. It also allows us to share with the less fortunate and the public, in the spirit of the Christmas season. We hope we will continue to be part of all the Christmas Light-up events in the future."

Another new highlight this year is the Junction SPARKTACULAR, presented by Follow Me (S) Pte Ltd. Four captivating green and red spiral light sculptures will anchor the corners of the Heeren Junction. At the heart of the junction is a mirror ball that will reflect dancing spotlights onto the street and buildings, creating a psychedelic feel. Every night, light-and-sound shows will entertain visitors at this junction.

This year will also mark the 16th year of collaboration between NCSS and STB in using the Christmas Light-Up as a platform to raise funds for charity. The funds raised this year will be for 323,000 beneficiaries such as Spastic Children's Association and MINDS Guillemard Gardens School.

The Greeting Book, is also another charity initiative which allows Singaporeans and visitors to pen their well wishes for their loved ones and the nation in the Book. Follow Me Pte Ltd which mooted the idea, will pledge S$0.50 for every signatory to the School Pocket Money Fund up to a maximum of S$50,000.

Mr Calvin Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Follow Me Pte Ltd is confident that both Junction SPARKTACULAR and the Greeting Book will contribute to the festivity and give visitors a memorable experience.

"Follow Me has always been committed to do its part as a good corporate citizen. While we hope to liven up the celebration spirits of the nation during this festive season, we also like to urge everyone to sign their well wishes in the Greeting Book. Let us make this Christmas a special one for those in need as well."

'Christmas in the Tropics' is one of the events under STB's Roaring Singapore campaign which is a 6-month recovery campaign aiming to attract 6 million visitors by the end of this year.

In line with STB's efforts to promote Singapore as an exciting destination for Christmas shopping, many shopping malls have irresistible promotions during this festive season not only for locals but also for overseas visitors. For the first time, the airport will be adorned with Christmas decorations and visitors will be greeted by Santa Claus upon arrival. Under the 'Changi Christmas Treats', visitors will be presented each with dining and shopping vouchers worth more than $100 from CAAS (use of the vouchers are tied to some terms and conditions) from 24 November to 25 December. A copy of the Roaring Great Deals! Booklet (which is already being distributed) and a first-ever festive shopping in Singapore by MRT guide "The Mall the Merrier" (from 14 November to 25 December).

STB has also organised special highlights along Orchard Road for both locals and tourists to enjoy. From 14 November to 31 December, visitors can look out for Giant Gift Boxes along Orchard Road which will provide a colourful backdrop for photo opportunities. Visitors can pick up gifts while being entertained with live music and performances at these gift boxes.

Aspiring photographers can also look out for the Konica Minolta Christmas Photo Contest. Organised by Konica Minolta and supported by STB, the contest hopes to encourage locals and visitors to capture their special moments on photos. Entries need to adhere to the three categories of the Light-Up - facades, street decorations and events or activities happening along Orchard Road.

Mr Gerald Lee, Chief Business Operations, STB said: "This year's Light-Up event will bring the Singapore Roars! campaign to a fitting finale. 2003 has been a rather challenging year, especially so for the tourism industry. We hope that by creating a very heartwarming Christmas ambience through the decorations, Singaporeans and overseas visitors will end the year on a festive note. Some of the activities that are taking place for the first time include the simulated snow, Giant Gift Boxes and Junction SPARKTACULAR. On the behalf of STB, I would like to invite everyone to participate in these events this festive season and also to join in the spirit of giving and sharing. I would like to use this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas in advance."

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