Why overseas Swifties are willing to spend thousands to catch Taylor Swift in Singapore

Fans react to singer Taylor Swift performing at her concert for the international The Eras Tour in Tokyo. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

For months, we’ve been hearing about how Taylor Swift’s decision to make Singapore the only Southeast Asian stop for her Eras Tour concert is good for the nation. Don’t get me wrong: It is an objectively good decision. A 30 per cent spike in demand for hotels and flights here as well as a potential revenue exceeding US$787 million in economic value are excellent figures by any metric.

However, we don’t really hear about the people who helped make those numbers possible: Overseas fans travelling to Singapore for the Eras Tour.


While Swifties here are spending anywhere between S$88 and S$1,288 (US$958) for concert tickets, overseas fans are spending that amount plus flight fares plus hotel fares plus miscellaneous expenses for the same concert.

And this is assuming everything was done without relying on scalpers.

Fans of Taylor Swift wait for the doors of the Monumental stadium to open for her Eras Tour concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo: AP/Natacha Pisarenko)

A Swiftie from Thailand we spoke to said she has spent around 50,000 baht (S$1,868) to watch Taylor Swift here.

That is a lot of money. So why do it? CNA Lifestyle reached out to a few fans from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines to see why they’re willing to spend that much money to see Taylor Swift here.

For 20-year-old Filipino undergraduate Clarisse Rivera, learning that Singapore was the sole Southeast Asian stop for the Eras Tour “was a real gut punch”.


“Man, it was like someone broke the news with a sledgehammer… Filipinos are huge Swifties, so it hit us hard,” she shared.

Nevertheless, Rivera appears to have taken the news in stride. She and her friend have since secured VIP tickets and plan to “live it up in Singapore”.

She elaborated: “I might have gone a tad overboard, probably dropped around 80,000 pesos (S$1,914) for the whole trip: Flights, concert gear, hotel stay, the works.”

Rivera admitted that it was her first time going overseas for a concert as most of her favourite artistes “usually swing by the Philippines”.

“(Taylor Swift) has been the soundtrack of my life. Her music’s been there through thick and thin, inspiring me and countless others. Plus, she’s a powerhouse: A lyricist, songwriter and vocalist all in one. Flying out to see her live? Worth every mile.”

Taylor Swift accepts the award for best pop vocal album for Midnights during the 66th annual Grammy Awards. (Photo:AP/Chris Pizzello)

Interestingly, most of the fans we spoke to shared that Taylor Swift’s Singapore stop marks their very first time flying overseas for a concert.

Airline crew member Jeanette Juntilla told us “she wouldn’t have done it for anyone else”.

“Taylor Swift is my whole world. She saves me through her songs,” the 27-year-old said.

A fan of Swift’s since the age of 13, Juntilla did not get the chance to catch Swift’s previous Speak Now and Red concerts in the Philippines as she “didn’t have (money to watch a show) back then”. She admitted she cried upon learning that her country was skipped for the Eras Tour, but not for long.

“After crying and getting over myself, my friends and I started coming up with a plan (to catch the concert). At this point, we couldn’t care less if we had to fly to a different place just to finally see Taylor Swift, because we have concert money now. We’re part of the workforce now.”


Taylor Swift performs at her concert for The Eras Tour in Tokyo, Japan on Feb 7, 2024. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

Fellow Pinay Swiftie Angela Carpio echoed Juntilla’s sentiments, adding: “(Taylor Swift’s) music gave me a sense of comfort growing up. That’s why I really made sure that I will go on this tour whatever it takes. She just made a huge impact on my life and I want to see her again. She is the only singer who could make me fly abroad – within budget, of course.”

Another fan Danica Daluz said: “Taylor is incomparable to other artists, for me. She’s so pure and genuine, even in her most dreadful moments. She’s so real with her lyrics that she can build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at her, and that’s so powerful. To witness and experience the music I’ve grown up with is a worthwhile reason to fly overseas.”

Taylor Swift performs before a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. (Photo: AP/John G. Mabanglo)

Even if you’re not a fan of Taylor Swift, you have to admit that it takes a special kind of artiste to get multiple fans from all over the region to brave the unknown and catch a concert overseas for the very first time.

The conversations we had served as glowing testimonials to what many have long stated: Taylor Swift’s ability to connect with fans through her music is unmatched. In an article published by University Of Oregon’s School Of Music And Dance, associate professor Toby Koenigsberg said: “We can’t talk about Taylor Swift’s success without acknowledging her preternatural ability to write songs that are familiar yet distinctive, accessible but not trite.

“It’s important to emphasise that it’s incredibly difficult to write a song like the songs (she) writes. It’s difficult to do even one time. To do it across an entire album is much harder still, and she has been doing it on album after album for close to two decades now.”

Taylor Swift arrives at Seletar Airport on Feb 27, 2024. (Photo: CNA/Eugene Goh)

Swift’s musicality aside, we need to talk about the elephant in the room. The biggest reason overseas Swifties are making the trip to Singapore is the fact that our country is the only Southeast Asian nation on the Eras Tour.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin previously said that the Singapore government offered up to US$3 million per show in exchange for an exclusivity deal for the Eras Tour – a claim that has not been confirmed nor denied. The Singapore Tourism Board has since clarified that it “provided a grant” to help organisers bring the Eras Tour to Singapore.

What are these Swifties’ thoughts on the claim and their impression of Singapore?

Turns out, there’s not a lot of bad blood.

Rivera mused: “Honestly, (it) wouldn’t shock me if (the deal) was true. It’s a bummer, but from an economic standpoint, I get it. Swift’s popularity and massive fanbase definitely make her a lucrative choice for any country hosting her tour. It’s impressive, no doubt.”

Thai Swiftie Pat said: “From a fan perspective, I felt devastated… However, from a business perspective, I thought it was a smart move as I knew it would boost Singapore’s economy tremendously.”

There will be multiple Taylor Swift-themed events across Singapore in the days leading up to her concert.

In any case, with Taylor Swift’s first show just a day away, these overseas Swifties are planning to make full use of their time in Singapore.

Malaysian content creator Hannysa Yusaa will be checking out a slew of Taylor Swift-themed events in Singapore including the light & water show at Marina Bay Sands as well as the pool party at Adventure Cove.

The 27-year-old added: “I did not spend anything for accommodation because I’ll be staying at my apartment in Larkin. It would be a day trip for me from Johor to Singapore… I am expecting to spend even more on the official merchandise which will be sold at the stadium.”

Other Swifties, such as Sisley Wang and Jessica Adams, will be visiting local hot spots.

Wang, who hails from Taiwan, said that she plans to visit Clarke Quay and the Singapore Zoo while Adams, an undergraduate from Indonesia, will be checking out hawker stalls, the likes of Haji Lane and Ann Siang Hill, as well as the clubs here.

Hopefully, these overseas Swifties will enjoy their time in Singapore and receive kindness from fans here. After all, it’s the least we could do after not having to fly out to catch Tay Tay.

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