The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were hailed as "global superstars" who make Britons feel good about themselves as they arrived in Singapore for the start of their Far East and South Pacific tour.

William and Kate are touring the region over the next nine days in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, meeting kings, presidents and prime ministers and a host of ordinary people from some of the world's most remote nations.

Antony Phillipson, British high commissioner to Singapore, greeted the couple at Singapore Changi airport and praised the feelgood factor they have generated among Britons.

Speaking ahead of their arrival on a scheduled flight from the UK, he said: "Over the last few weeks, as we've been able to tell people more and more about the visit, there's been a mounting excitement. This is a couple who are global superstars and make the British feel very, very good about themselves - that's as true in Singapore as anywhere else."

William and Kate's Diamond Jubilee tour has generated a huge amount of interest among foreign press, with more than 90 journalists, cameramen and photographers from countries including Japan, America, China, Germany, New Zealand and Australia covering the event.

There are more than 170 Singaporean media accredited for the visit and dozens of British press travelled out ahead of the royal couple to be in place for the start of engagements.

William and Kate's trip will also take them to neighbouring Malaysia and the remote nations of the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu to mark the Queen's 60-year reign.

The Cambridges were formally greeted by Mr Phillipson and senior officials from the Singaporean ministry of foreign affairs at a low-key reception in a VIP lounge at the airport.

Their first engagement is an orchid-naming ceremony in Singapore when a flower will be named after the Duke and Duchess. In a poignant moment, the royal couple will see an orchid named after William's mother Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana was due to see the bloom but she died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997 just a few weeks before she was due to visit Singapore.

In the evening, the royals will receive an official guard of honour welcome at Istana, the official residence of President Tony Tan Keng Yam, before having an informal meeting with the Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. Following the formal welcome, a state reception and dinner will be staged in their honour.