Singaporeans to get vouchers to boost domestic tourism

published : 16 Sep 2020 at 15:21

Visitors at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore on Wednesday. (TODAY photo)

SINGAPORE: From December, all Singaporeans aged 18 years and above will receive S$100 worth of vouchers for local hotel stays, attractions tickets and tours, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Wednesday.

This comes as tourist attractions that have received approval to resume operations will be allowed from Friday to apply to STB to increase their operating capacity from 25% up to 50%, and increase the capacity at their outdoor shows. This is subject to approval by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

The “SingapoRediscovers” vouchers, distributed in denominations of S$10, will be accessible digitally via the SingPass government portal. They will be valid for seven months, until end-June next year.

STB chief executive Keith Tan said the agency is launching a tender on Wednesday to find platform operators to provide a digital voucher redemption system and that it will work with winning bidders to come up with alternatives for those who face difficulties accessing the vouchers digitally, TODAY reported.

Details on the redemption mechanisms will be announced in November, STB said.

The government had said in August it would set aside S$320 million for the vouchers, which are named after an ongoing S$45 million marketing campaign by STB to drive domestic spending and prop up the tourism sector hard hit by travel restrictions due to Covid-19.

“To date, over 200 attractive deals and bundled packages have been launched to encourage locals to explore different precincts and aspects of life of Singapore,” STB wrote in a statement.

These vouchers can be redeemed at licensed hotels, tourist attractions and tours approved by the STB to operate or reopen. The tours must also have been granted approval by the MTI.

The government will also provide a S$10 subsidy for child and youth tickets for attractions and tours throughout the seven months.

“This is not social assistance, this is an economic scheme to help our tourist attractions preserve their capabilities that have been built up over the years, while they consolidate capacity in the interim,” Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing told reporters while on a visit to the Jurong Bird Park on Wednesday.

He added that the scheme comes as the outlook for global tourism remains uncertain.

“It's not just what we do well in Singapore that's important. Of course we do those things that are under our control well, but at the same time, very much also depends on what happens in other countries. For example, even as we allow visitors to come, some of the countries have their own travel restrictions which do not allow their people to travel overseas,” he said.

“So within the market that is possible for us, we try to do our best to give all the tourists and all the visitors a sense of assurance that when they come to our places of attractions, hotels or tours, this is a safe place for them.”

Increased capacity at outdoor shows

Aside from being able to take in more visitors, attraction operators can also apply to STB to scale up the capacity at their outdoor shows to a maximum of 250 people from the current maximum of 50.

This will be done by setting up a maximum of five zones, with 50 people in each zone, and are subject to safe measurement measures which include providing at least a one metre distance within the zone between individuals not from the same group.

Zones must also be clearly demarcated with a separation of at least three metres between zones.

The relaxations of rules for attractions were a result of operators demonstrating “good compliance” with safe measurement measures, STB said.

Besides introducing online booking systems, preparing response plans to handle cases of infections, detailed cleaning and sanitisation regimes, they have also been effective at preventing and dispersing crowds and maintaining high standards of cleanliness and hygiene, STB said.

“STB will continue to conduct enforcement checks to ensure that attractions can implement the necessary SMMs (safe measurement measures) effectively even with larger capacity limits,” it wrote.


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