Singapore plows US$32.5m to revive domestic tourism

To pull Singapore’s travel industry out of the Covid-19 doldrums, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has announced a nine-month, S$45 million (US$32.5 million) campaign to drive local spend on tourism and lifestyle offerings.

As part of a tripartite effort with Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC), SingapoRediscovers will focus on three broad areas: partnering local communities to help citizens discover hidden gems; curating precinct-based tour itineraries; as well as collaborating with hotels, tour operators, attractions and precincts to develop new experiences and promotions.

Singapore Tourism Board partners Sentosa, Expedia and Klook in US$32.5 mil domestic revival campaign

STB CEO Keith Tan shared: “These efforts constitute the largest domestic marketing push we’ve ever undertaken. (The S$45 million budget) represents a significant portion of what we would normally spend on international marketing in any given year. If it needs to be extended, we are prepared to negotiate with the other agencies to put in more resources.”

He added that STB hopes to expand the 5-people capacity limits for group tours, as part of social distancing rules during phase two of the country’s post-circuit breaker, “in the coming weeks”, and will be engaging other ministries in discussions to explore this possibility.

SingapoRediscovers will kick off at the end of July, with precinct tours of Little India and Sentosa to be marketed as Singapoliday destinations. SDC has curated new back-of-house tours and staycation packages featuring itineraries themed around island life, heritage discovery, wellness escape and adventure. More precincts will be added to the roster in the coming months.

Accompanying these offerings will be curated tours conducted by the Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore; Heartland Enterprise Centre Singapore; and the Society of Tourist Guides (Singapore). These will be complemented by a Jalan Jalan: Your Good Hoods Guide initiative, a series of guidebooks promoting neighbourhood destinations.

To stimulate local retail and attraction spend, businesses and associations such as the Singapore Retailers Association, Singapore Hotel Association, Association of Singapore Attractions and Chinatown Business Association will rally their members to offer promotions on the VisitSingapore app and the newly launched SingapoRediscovers microsite.

Some 40 businesses have already come on board to offer about 80 promotions, including attractions, tours, and hotel stays. These include cross-sector tie-ups between hotels and tour operators, such as lyf Funan Singapore with Tribe Tours, and Fullerton Hotel with Singapore Sidecars.

SingapoRediscovers constitutes Singapore Tourism Board’s largest ever domestic marketing push: Tan

Aviation giants Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Singapore Airlines (SIA) have also entered agreements with STB on joint marketing campaigns for business revival. CAG will expand its portfolio of local brands on iShopChangi from next month, while SIA will soon offer Design Orchard brands on KrisShop.

Down the line in September, STB and Expedia will embark on a global marketing partnership, extending offers to locals and eventually to overseas visitors. The board is also teaming up with Klook to create engaging content, and develop new and interesting products and promotions for locals. also recently hosted a live webcast promoting flexible hotel reservations at discounted rates to Singapore’s staycation segment. STB confirmed that the OTA will collaborate on other initiatives for overseas visitors in the future.

Lynette Pang, STB assistant CEO of the marketing group, said: “According to UNWTO, in 2018, Singaporeans spent more than S$34 billion on overseas travel. Thus, the challenge for us is whether we can redirect some of that spending towards our local tourism and lifestyle businesses.”

SingapoRediscovers is the country’s largest ever campaign to drive local demand. It stems from the work of the Tourism Recovery Action Taskforce, which was launched in February 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Similar efforts to push domestic consumption have also been rolled out by STB post-crises in the past, namely, the Step Out Singapore programme after 2003’s SARS, and the BOOST (Building on Opportunities to Strengthen Tourism) initiative following the 2009 global financial crisis.

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