Alarmed by a plunge in tourists from China, Singapore will roll out a marketing blitz in Beijing next week aimed at revitalising the city state's image as a choice destination for well-heeled Chinese. In February, the number of tourists from the mainland was down a startling 43 per cent from last year, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. The government attributed the drop on the timing of this year's Lunar New Year, which fell in January instead of February, and on bird flu fears, despite no cases being reported in Singapore. Last year, the number of visitors from China - one of Singapore's biggest tourism markets - slumped by about 15 per cent to fewer than 570,000 people. Sars was the culprit, the government said. Singapore was hurt by outbreaks of bird flu in nearby countries, the government said, particularly since Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore are closely linked in the minds of many Chinese in so-called Xing-Ma-Tai (Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand) tour packages. According to Edmund Chua, the board's regional director for greater China, Singapore's main challenge was to carve out an identity distinct from its competitors. 'The perception of Singapore as a holiday destination needs to be further deepened and strengthened beyond being known as a nice place,' he said. 'Being nice is just too generic.' Under the slogan 'Uniquely Singapore', the Beijing marketing campaign will involve celebrities, giveaways and discount tour packages. It is all aimed at increasing the number of mainland visitors to about 770,000 this year. Singapore's advertising campaign will go head to head with Malaysia's, which is trying to attract its share of the lucrative Chinese inbound market with 'Malaysia-China Friendship Year'.