by Michael C. Lowe | March 01, 2012

With nearly 3.5 million international visitors logged during the third quarter of 2011, representing a 15 percent year-over-year increase, Singapore continues to grow as a global tourist destination. Contributing factors include an increasingly robust hotel scene and a lavish array of tourist-friendly attractions.

Hotel update Recent property debuts include the 80-room Lai Chun Yuen Hotel, styled after traditional Chinese opera houses, and the 72-room Santa Grand Hotel East Coast, which features a rooftop pool and Jacuzzi. For larger groups, the Oasia hotel opened last September with 428 rooms, a pool, three restaurants and 2,400 square feet of meeting space.

Among 2012's newcomers, the 333-room Bay Hotel opened last month with an outdoor swimming pool, three dining options and free wireless Internet. The 363-room Parkroyal on Pickering is planning a mid-year opening and will feature a rooftop bar, a day spa and 160,000 square feet of "green features," such as nature trails and reflecting pools.

In August, Starwood's 240-room W Singapore Sentosa Cove will become country's first W property and will include a fitness center, a spa and an outdoor pool.

Starwood also recently announced plans to open the Westin Singapore Marina Bay in 2013. The 305-room property will feature a spa, a fitness center, an infinity pool and a 5,166-square-foot ballroom.

Convention center The 1.3 million-square-foot Singapore Expo convention center is wrapping up an expansion that will add approximately 86,000 square feet of meeting space by the end of this month. The new wing, called Max Atria, will house a total of 23 meeting rooms and prefunction areas.

Cruise news The new International Cruise Terminal is on schedule for completion sometime in the next quarter. The new facility will provide space for two cruise ships, doubling the destination's berth capacity to four.

Mobile apps The Singapore Tourism Board launched a free smartphone application this past September called YourSingapore Guide. The app, which is available for both Apple and Android phones, allows visitors to find various attractions, services and deals through location-based technology. In addition, the app lets international visitors access free data usage by connecting to the StarHub network once they arrive in Singapore. For several other helpful Singa­pore apps, see "App 4 That," at left.