At STB, work goes beyond the realms of mere marketing and into the hub of creating excitement.
By Nabilah Husna A. Rahman
The local tourism industry is set to boom, with pivotal developments led by the world’s only FORMULA ONE night race; the opening of the integrated resorts, Marina Bay SandsTM and Resorts World at Sentosa; landmark events like the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games; new attractions such as Gardens by the Bay and River Safari; and new retail establishments such as ION Orchard and 313@Somerset gracing the newly rejuvenated Orchard Road.
These promising enhancements to the landscape are what drove Li Hongyi to dive headfirst into the industry with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) as her first choice.
“My graduation coincided with a lot of the excitement lined up in the tourism industry,” says the National University of Singapore (NUS) alumnus. “So I thought that if I wanted to be in the centre of all the excitement, where else can I be, besides STB? That reaffirmed my choice and I gave the management trainee programme a shot.”
At STB, management trainees are given opportunities to explore various facets of the industry, from frontline work to operational development. The one-year programme involves two line attachments, and a 10-week posting to the Singapore Visitors Centres.
“During our stint at the Singapore Visitors Centres, we had to serve walk-in visitors and answer their multitude of questions,” she recalls, smiling. “We had a very interesting time there because the interaction with each visitor was unique and memorable!”
Currently, Hongyi works as a Management Executive in the Integrated Resorts Division – a division that she had her eye on for a long time.
Equipped with a background in marketing, Hongyi was able to adjust well to the demands of her job scope. “At STB, we develop the tourism landscape of Singapore and market it to visitors,” she says.
“The real challenge I face is doing things that were never done before. When I was involved in the FORMULA ONE project, there were no previous files or records to refer to,” she notes, with reference to the inaugural night race held in Singapore last year.
The same, she says, goes for her work in the Integrated Resorts Division. “We have to set the foundations and benchmarks for the way to go forward, and it is undoubtedly a challenging task. But at the same time, it is very rewarding when we put in all the hard work and reap the seeds of success we sow at the end of the day.”
At STB, fresh graduates are not stereotyped as inexperienced. Instead, newcomers are given opportunities and responsibilities, as well as freedom to voice feedback and suggestions.
“I managed to travel overseas as a Liaison Officer to my Chief Executive. I attended meetings with her and of course, the challenge was in being alert and ensuring the whole trip had no hiccups. I don’t think many organisations actually give fresh graduates such an important task and an opportunity to interact with the top management,” Hongyi shares.
On her personal growth since joining the ranks of STB, Hongyi says, “Here, we are really put to the test. As a fresh graduate, you wonder what you can do and how you can make an impact. But at STB, I’ve been given many opportunities to make my mark.”
“I’ve grown emotionally and mentally stronger because work here provides us challenges,” she adds.
A multi-faceted career
“It’s not too late to be part of the excitement!” is Hongyi’s exclamation to why STB is an ideal choice for entering a dynamic career in tourism. However, besides being fun-loving, one must also embrace challenges to excel in the organisation.
“You must also be able to embrace changes because the tourism landscape is changing with growth. One cannot have a traditional and conservative mind,” she says.
And as with every career, interest is not enough to keep anyone going. Unadulterated passion, rather, would propel you to success.
“Be passionate about the industry,” Hongyi advises. “That was what got me the job and is what keeps me going. Whatever you do, you must always have an end-goal in mind – what it is that you envisage, align it with what is going on around you and work hard towards it. The bottom line is passion.”