Singapore moves tourism recovery and reinvention forward with more initiatives

Singapore’s tourism industry will receive further training and business development funding, as well as digital transformation support from the government, as it continues on its road to recovery.

The Tourism Development Fund (TDF) will get a S$68.5 million (US$51.1 million) injection and extended support levels for the Business Improvement Fund and the Training Industry Professionals in Tourism grant until end-March 2022. The total value of TDF is now at S$848.5 million.

Minister for trade and industry, Chan Chun Sing, unveils new initiatives to set Singapore’s tourism sector up for long-term success

In addition, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will kick off next week the second season of the SG Stories Content Fund to encourage tourism firms, content creators and individuals to craft authentic Singapore stories to inspire tourist visitation.

Further, in line with Singapore’s push for digital transformation among local businesses, STB will launch the Tourism Technology Transformation Cube – known as Tcube – this afternoon. Tcube is said to be a go-to resource for tourism businesses desiring a digital transformation, where they will get to meet like-minded tourism stakeholders to facilitate knowledge exchange, test innovative ideas through proofs-of-concept and pilots, and access tools to build and scale sustainable business models.

These initiatives were revealed at this morning’s Tourism Industry Conference, an event held once every two years to bring the local travel and tourism community together to review past achievements and deliberate on the way forward.

In his welcome address, Singapore minister for trade and industry, Chan Chun Sing, noted that the country’s tourism sector was “still in the thick” of its gravest challenge since the 2003 SARS pandemic, and that “recovery remains uncertain”.

“In the near term, there will still be headwinds. But we remain committed to supporting our tourism sector, to help businesses and workers build new capabilities, and break new ground,” said Chan.

He added that the challenge for Singapore’s tourism sector lies not in recovery this year or the next, but in how it will prepare for long-term success and reinvent global travel.

“We are not waiting for a full reopening. Singapore is prepared to disrupt the status quo, transform our products and services, and harness our capabilities to capture the next lap of growth ahead,” he remarked.

Taking stock of how Singapore’s tourism businesses have redefined tourism during the global travel disruption, STB chief executive Keith Tan said Singapore has been successful in establishing travel lanes and resuming some high-profile public and business events such as the ONE Championship events in 2020 and recent Geo Connect Asia 2021. He also commended tourism stakeholders for being proactive in pivoting quickly to new ways of securing revenue, such as through the domestic tourism market.

“This period may well be one of the most fertile periods in the Singapore tourism sector, with new products, experiences and bundled packages being launched weekly,” Tan said.

Moving forward, Tan bid tourism players to maintain their creativity while building up resilience and preparedness for inevitable future crises.

One of the ways to be ready for the future is through digital transformation, said Tan, who went on to explain that Tcube will support tourism businesses through a three-step Learn-Test-Build approach.

The Learn phase will be facilitated by STB’s Tourism Transformation Index, a self-assessment tool that will lead to recommendations on relevant programmes to support digital transformation.

The Test phase is facilitated by STB’s Singapore Tourism Accelerator programme, launched in 2019 to help tourism businesses source for innovative solutions to address business challenges. The Singapore Tourism Accelerator programme may be extended until September 2023.

The Build phase is supported by a suite of smart services, including the Tourism Information and Services Hub, and Singapore Tourism Analytics Network.

Tourism stakeholders can also expect continued support in their move towards Augmented Reality content, through STB’s efforts to build up a library of free 3D assets over the next three to four years.

Mapping out even more support from STB, Tan revealed that the organisation is working with the National Trades Union Congress to draw up a Tourism Sector Capability Development Roadmap; establishing more partnerships with overseas entities to maintain Singapore as a top-of-mind destination among international travellers; and extending the Marketing Partnership Programme to support domestic and international marketing efforts.

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