The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is developing a “green lane” to support the industry in technology adoption.
There has been a five-fold increase in the number of applications by Singapore agents for project funding to develop and adopt innovative technology solutions.
Following the STB-NATAS (National Association of Travel Agents Singapore) launch of the Tourism Innovation Challenge for Travel Agents in May, the initiative will now identify and pre-qualify a set of technology solutions for funding support that cover administrative solutions like human resources and accounting, and travel-agent specific solutions like booking and reservations systems.
The aim of the challenge is to catalyse the development of new technology solutions curated specially for travel agents, said Sim Ann, senior minister of state, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Sim added: “Travel agents who wish to adopt pre-qualified technology solutions will be able to enjoy expedited funding approval and implement them more quickly.”
At Wednesday’s Travel Agents Industry Forum’s Technology Showcase, there were exhibitors with solutions supported through the challenge like AI applications and multi-source travel solutions provider Zumata, which is working with Amadeus, Expedia and insurance companies.
Circus Social, another candidate for the innovation challenge, is helping travel agents like Buffalo Tours, Quotient DMC, Tradewinds and Traveller DMC create “intelligent itinerary” products using predictive analytics to offer what inbound and outbound travellers want. It is a B2B and B2C subscription-based platform.
For travel agents offering seat-in-coach programmes, Drop Positioning Systems provides tour guides and tour group members Internet connectivity, live positioning and messaging capabilities, including for social media, for groups of up to 64 users.
Steven Ler, NATAS acting president and general manager, head of travel, UOB Travel, added: “Building on the momentum of the innovation challenge, NATAS will be developing a Travel Technology Challenge with key partners in 2H2018.
“We hope the challenge will result in even more solutions curated for the travel agent industry and proliferated by key partners throughout the industry.”
Sim told the forum Dynasty Travel was developing a mobile app, which prospective customers can use to book travel, provide reviews and feedback and contact the agency during emergencies.
Anywhr, a new online only entrant was cited as another example. Its online platform allows travellers to provide key parameters and preference like number of travellers, travel dates, recently visited cities and budget to create a customised trip. Travellers are told what to pack and only find out where they are going on the day of the departure.