$45m campaign launched to spur local spending and boost tourism
With the industry still in the doldrums, STB launches SingapoRediscovers to revive businesses
With mass leisure travel still an uncertainty in the near future, a $45 million domestic campaign will be launched to drive spending, and give local and tourism businesses a much-needed boost.
Launching the SingapoRediscovers campaign at the Tourism Recovery Dialogue yesterday, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said: "I think we have to be realistic that the demand for mass market tourism products is unlikely to recover in the near term unless there is a vaccine or there are rapid and affordable test kits being developed."
Mr Chan said Singapore must be prepared to deal with an uncertain and possibly volatile environment as countries will be hit by recurring waves of infection.
While the immediate plan is to save jobs and reskill workers, he urged industry members to redesign tourism products to attract locals and niche, or business, travellers.
To boost local spending, the nine-month long campaign by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Enterprise Singapore and Sentosa Development Corporation will partner with local communities such as foodies, photographers, and nature and heritage groups to help locals discover hidden gems.
There will also be curated precinct itineraries in areas such as Chinatown and Little India, to create authentic experiences for locals, and tie-ups with various partners to offer value-for-money promotions.
Around 40 businesses have come on board to offer about 80 promotions, including attractions, tours and hotel stays.
STB chief executive Keith Tan told reporters at a media preview on Tuesday that he does not expect domestic consumption to fill the hole left behind by the fall in international travel.
International visitors contributed about $27 billion in tourism receipts to Singapore last year.
He said: "But what we hope to do is to create cushions, to buy as much time as we can for our businesses."
In 2018, Singaporeans spent more than $34 billion on overseas travel.
Mr Tan said: "It is not realistic for us to capture all that money back in Singapore, but we hope to capture some sliver of that here."
This will not be easy as many Singaporeans are worried about retaining their jobs while others are facing pay cuts, he told industry members at the dialogue yesterday.
He said despite support measures from the Government, it is inevitable more job losses will happen in the coming months, given the severe impact Covid-19 has had on international travel.
Despite the strong headwinds, Mr Tan assured industry members that Singapore is well positioned for recovery when demand for international tourism returns, citing how the country is the fifth most visited city in the world.
He said: "Admittedly, that may seem very far away. But we are already working on market specific plans for international recovery and will activate these plans when we sense the earliest glimmers of recovery."