Travel Focus: Singapore

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Singapore is a major international transportation hub in Asia, positioned on many sea and air trade routes.

The Port of Singapore, managed by port operators PSA International and Jurong Port, was the world's second busiest port in 2005 in terms of shipping tonnage handled, at 1. 15bn gross tons, and in terms of containerised traffic, at 23. 2m 20–foot equivalent units. It is also the world's second busiest in terms of cargo tonnage, coming behind Shanghai with 423m tons handled. In addition, the Port is the world's busiest for trans–shipment traffic and the world's biggest ship refuelling centre. Singapore is an aviation hub for the south–east Asian region and a stopover on the Kangaroo route between Australasia and Europe. Singapore Changi Airport has a network of 81 airlines connecting Singapore to 185 cities in 58 countries. It has been rated as one of the best international airports by international travel magazines, including being rated as the world's best airport for the first time in 2006 by Skytrax. The airport currently has three passenger terminals. There is also a budget terminal, which serves budget carrier Tiger Airways and Cebu Pacific. The national carrier is Singapore Airlines (SIA). The government is moving towards privatising Changi airport. Singapore is linked to Johor, Malaysia via the Johor–Singapore Causeway and the Tuas Second Link, as well as a railway operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu of Malaysia, with its southern terminus at Tanjong Pagar railway station. Frequent ferry service to several nearby Indonesian ports also exists. The domestic transport infrastructure has a well–connected island–wide road transport system that includes a network of expressways. The public road system is served by the nation's bus service and a number of licensed taxi–operating companies. Every day, approximately 5m trips are made on public transport in Singapore. Since 1987, the heavy rail passenger Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) metro system has been in operation. The MRT system has been further augmented by the Light Rail Transit (LRT) light rail system, and increases accessibility to housing estates. Established in 2001, the EZ–Link system allows contactless smartcards to serve as stored value tickets for use in the public transport systems in Singapore. More than 2. 85m people use the bus network daily operated mainly by SBS Transit and SMRT Buses, the two main public bus operators, while more than 1. 5m people use either the LRT or MRT as part of their daily routine. The Circle Line which links different train routes such as the East–West Line, North–South Line and North–East Line is currently undergoing construction works and the whole route is due to be completed by 2012. Approximately 945, 000 people use taxi services daily in Singapore. Private vehicle use in the central area is discouraged by tolls implemented during hours of heavy road traffic, through an electronic road pricing system. Private vehicle ownership is discouraged by the usage of high vehicle taxes and imposing quotas on vehicle purchase. Ranked in the top three international convention cities in the world (according to the Union of International Associations and the International Conference and Convention Association), large–scale, high–level events are familiar territory for Singapore. To reflect this, the citys hotels offer all requisite facilities – meeting rooms, business centres, gyms, spas and even swimming pools. Several hotels are integrated with convention centres and others with shopping or entertainment complexes. Hotel guest rooms are equipped with data ports for mobile devices and handhelds to access high–speed internet. As of February 2010, there were 269 hotels and over 42, 000 hotel rooms in Singapore. According to Hotels. coms Hotel Price Index, a hotel room in Singapore cost an average of £100 per night across all categories in 2009 compared with £113 per night in 2008.

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