Older folk daunted by online redemption of tourism vouchers
Vouchers can be redeemed from Dec 1, and the less tech-savvy can turn to 69 physical counters islandwide
While they welcome the $100 SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, some people feel the redemption process could be simpler and more user-friendly.
People aged 50 and above that The New Paper spoke to said the process can be intimidating for those who are less tech-savvy, and it would have been better to contain all the offering in one centralised website instead of different booking platforms.
Under the $320 million government scheme to boost the tourism sector, all Singaporeans aged 18 and above can redeem the $100 SingapoRediscovers Vouchers and check their balance online from Dec 1.
All eligible citizens will receive a letter by Dec 1 with information about the redemption process, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said yesterday.
The vouchers can be used to book staycations, attraction tickets and local tours at five online booking platforms: Changi Recommends, GlobalTix, Traveloka, Trip.com and Klook.
Physical counters are being set up across the island to cater to those in need of assistance, STB said.
"Having to browse through five different booking platforms can be tedious, given that most people my age are not familiar with booking platforms," said housewife Doris Lee, 60.
"For convenience, I think I would just go to a physical counter near my home and see what they have to offer."
Mrs Josephine Tan, 55, who works part-time in finance, said the hassle of having to toggle between the websites will not deter her from using the vouchers, but a centralised platform would have been more convenient.
She said: "It may also be hard to keep track of the offerings and make a side-by-side comparison if you have to keep switching between them.
"But I do think the $100 voucher is a good deal, especially with local leisure options being the most feasible now."
Those of the younger crowd are looking forward to the vouchers, with many gearing up to visit such attractions as theme parks and wildlife parks.
Undergraduate Crystal Tan, 22, said: "I think the vouchers will encourage people to explore local attractions. Entrance fees can be pricey, so the vouchers are a good incentive."
STB chief executive Keith Tan said this is the first national digital-only voucher scheme rolled out by the Government involving hundreds of merchants, five booking partners and physical locations across Singapore.
Mr Tan said: "We know that local consumption will not fully make up for tourism spending.
"But we hope that over the next seven months, Singaporeans will use the vouchers to rediscover Singapore, to explore what our hotels, attractions and tours have to offer - and in the process support jobs, livelihoods and capabilities in our tourism industry."
On the network of physical counters, he said: "These are for those who need help in person to set up or to reset their SingPass accounts, or to use their vouchers to redeem tourism products online."
There will be 69 physical booths set up by the booking platforms at or near most community centres or clubs (CCs).
The People's Association will also help with SingPass issues at 53 CCs.
Since the vouchers are valid until next June, more merchants are expected to come on board in the coming months.
STB reiterated yesterday that the vouchers cannot be transferred or sold. Transfer of products bought with the vouchers will depend on the merchant's terms and conditions.
Combining vouchers with another individual is also not allowed for security reasons, such as to prevent fraud.
STB said the booking platforms were roped in as they are able to provide both digital means and physical counters to assist consumers.
"We want to support that diversity of merchants big and small, and we know that every merchant has different arrangements with the booking partners. We want to make sure that we cover as wide a range as possible," STB added.
The booking platforms said they are expecting a surge in the number of bookings and enquiries with the release of the vouchers and the upcoming school holidays.
Some will be offering family-friendly packages.
Ms Carine Chew, head of outbound products at Changi Travel Services, said there will be some exclusive staycation deals such as free child stay.
Klook South-east Asia marketing director Sarah Wan said it will be working closing with merchants to curate family-friendly packages in view of the school holidays.