Singapore

Staycations and attractions popular picks for use of tourism vouchers

Mr Wilson Nah was planning to take his wife and their two children to either Hong Kong Disneyland or Malaysia's Genting Highlands during the year-end school holidays.

But when Covid-19 cases spiked over the Chinese New Year period, the 47-year-old ruled out an overseas trip and is now eyeing a holiday in Singapore to save costs and keep his family safe.

The announcement earlier this month explaining how the $100 worth of tourism vouchers each adult Singaporean is getting can be used was great news for Mr Nah, a purchaser in the supply chain business.

He and his wife are thinking of using the vouchers to offset some of the cost of a hotel staycation on Sentosa with their 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.

Like Mr Nah, many of the adult Singaporeans The Straits Times spoke to plan to use the vouchers they are getting in December on a hotel staycation, attraction tickets or both.

In contrast, only three of the 25 citizens interviewed said they would use the vouchers on local tours, or a combination of tours and staycations or attractions.

The Government said on Sept 16 that the vouchers, which will be given to all Singaporeans aged 18 and above, can be spent on staycations, tickets to leisure attractions and local tours approved by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to reopen or resume.

The $320 million worth of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers were announced by the Government last month.

It hopes the vouchers will prop up the tourism sector, which has been battered by the pandemic.

As of last Monday, 214 hotels, 40 attractions and 445 tour itineraries have been given the green light to resume operations with safe management measures.

STB said specific details on how the vouchers can be redeemed will be announced in November.

On why many people are planning to use their vouchers on attractions and staycations, Dr Michael Chiam, a senior tourism lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said "people really want to go on holiday overseas, but with the border closed, the next best thing is a staycation".

Popular spots cited by interviewees included the Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park.

While hotels and attractions are top picks for many people to use their vouchers on, local tours are less popular.

Dr Chiam said this may be because "people always feel like they know their own backyard... but there are still a lot of places worth exploring".

FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES

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