Singapore hotels can expect financial assistance for their environmental cleaning and disinfection costs, while hotels, travel agents and tourist guides will have their licence fees waived off this year, as part of the government’s effort to help tourism players cope with business challenges brought on by the ongoing flu outbreak.
As part of this initial package, hotels that provided accommodation to suspected and confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus infections will get up to 50 per cent of third-party professional cleaning fees covered by STB, capped at S$20,000 (US$14,638) per establishment for hotels with confirmed cases; and S$10,000 per establishment for hotels with suspected cases.
This will be backdated to January 23, when the first case of Novel Coronavirus infection in Singapore was detected.
Applications will open between February 10 and April 30, following which STB will assess the situation to see if further support is required. Hotels can email STB_Incentives@stb.gov.sg for more information.
In addition, the Hotels Licensing Board will waive licence fees for hotels for the rest of 2020. Applicants can email HLB_Secretariat@hlb.gov.sg.
Similarly, travel agents and tourist guides whose licenses are due for renewal in 2020 will not need to pay to renew their licence fees.
Full details of the overall package of relief measures will be announced at Budget 2020 on February 18.
The tourism sector has been directly affected by Novel Coronavirus, due to a decline in visitor arrivals, especially from China. Chinese tourists account for around 20 per cent of Singapore’s total international visitor arrivals, with about 3.6 million visitors to Singapore in 2019.
Keith Tan, CEO of STB, said in a statement: “Over the past week, STB has been in close contact with our tourism partners to understand their difficulties and to assess the impact. We know the situation is likely to persist, and recognise we need to move quickly to support the industry and build confidence. STB will continue to identify targeted and effective ways to support the tourism industry so that they are well-positioned to grow swiftly once we start to recover.”