Destination at a Glance - Singapore
Singapore is a collection of islands located in Southeast Asia between Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world. In fact, it has the highest percentage of millionaires in the world with 15.5% of the population having assets worth more than one million U. S. dollars. Singapore is a highly industrialized nation with many attributes to lure foreign business. In 2012 the World Bank ranked Singapore as the world's easiest place to conduct business. It has also been ranked both as the most competitive economy in the world and the top Asian country for quality of life. Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world. It is a world leader in oil refining, finances, trade and casino gambling. Singapore has become a global business hub because of many factors. The country enjoys political stability with a Parliamentary Republic type of government and has been recognized for many years as being one of the least corrupt governments in the world. There is a well-developed infrastructure and a skilled workforce. Singapore also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world due to its stiff penalties for any type of crime. Even an offense as minor as littering will result in a fine of $1000, while more serious crimes such as drug trafficking and murder carry a mandatory death sentence. While some protest that the punishments are too severe, they have served as a deterrent and made Singapore one of the safest places in the world.
Singapore continues to try to diversity its economy and attracting tourism is a major part of that plan. Tourism is strongly promoted, including medical tourism. About 700,000 foreigners travel to Singapore each year for medical procedures. Education is considered very important, and many people move to Singapore for its education opportunities alone. In fact, about twenty percent of Singapore's university students are from other countries. Singapore is one of the few countries whose population is declining, and it encourages foreigners to immigrate there. With one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world among developed countries, Singapore is a very attractive location for many people in the world to choose as their new home. Due to the small size of the islands and the dense population, private cars are highly restricted to cut down on pollution. There is a wonderful system of public transportation available consisting of buses, taxis and trains. Many locals also walk to their destinations. There is a diverse population in Singapore resulting in followers of many religions. About one-third of the population is Buddhist, followed by Christianity and Islam. Because of the large population of foreigners in Singapore, there are four main languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. English is the most common language and is spoken in both schools and government. The national pastime in Singapore is considered to be dining and shopping. It has been said that the phrase "shop 'til you drop" originated here. The prices of even designer items are among the lowest in the world. The Orchard Road shopping area is a main tourist.
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