SINGAPORE: Every Singaporean aged 18 and above in 2020 is set to receive S$100 worth of SingapoRediscovers vouchers, which can be used on staycations, attraction tickets and tours.
The vouchers can be used between December this year and the end of June next year.
A S$10 subsidy will also be provided for children and youth tickets for attractions and tours, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in a fact sheet on Wednesday (Sep 16). Each adult may purchase up to six children or youth tickets at subsidised prices during the duration of the scheme.
Announcing the details on Wednesday, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said the move will help the local tourism industry, which has been battered by COVID-19.
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“This is not a social assistance scheme. This is an economic scheme to help our tourist attractions to preserve their capabilities that have been built up over the years, while they consolidate capacity in the interim,” Mr Chan told reporters at the Jurong Bird Park.
The vouchers will be provided in denominations of S$10 via SingPass, and may be used to purchase tickets for attractions and tours, and accommodation bookings at licensed hotels, said the STB.
More details on the redemption mechanism will be announced in November.
STB will be calling a tender to appoint the platform providers for the redemption of the vouchers, said chief executive Keith Tan.
"We envisage it to be fairly simple and straightforward. We don't want it to be too complicated for our locals using it, as well as for the merchants who benefit from it."
With SingPass as the "primary mode" of issuing the vouchers, it is a "distinct identifier" that will "present significant hurdles" to fraud and the unauthorised transfer of the vouchers to other people, he added.
"We will design other anti-fraud mechanisms into the system as we work with the eventual appointed platform operators."
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Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in August that the Government would give out S$320 million worth of vouchers to encourage Singaporeans to support local tourism businesses.
The scheme will complement the ongoing SingapoRediscovers campaign launched in July, said the STB.
More than 200 deals and bundled packages have been launched “to encourage locals to explore different precincts and aspects of life of Singapore”, the STB said. The vouchers will provide more encouragement for Singaporeans to do so, it added.
All licensed hotels, tourist attractions and tours that have been approved by the STB to operate or reopen can benefit from this scheme.
"We're working out the economic impact now, but certainly we do expect a return, not necessarily to the Government but obviously to the merchants. From the response we've seen so far, even from the initial SingapoRediscovers campaign, the merchants have responded very positively," said Mr Tan.
"There is clearly a sense that they are responding, and the reason why they're responding is that they must see there is commercial return of interest and return of benefits to them," Mr Tan added.
Mr Chan said he expects merchants to benefit from a "multiplier effect".
“We’ll expect a certain multiplier effect because when people come here, they will also spend on other things ... So for example, they can use this to pay off the tickets or defer the cost of the tickets for coming in. But when they come in, they will spend on some of the F&B and other services that the attractions, hotels or the tours provide," said Mr Chan.
“We think that there will be a catalytic effect. As to the exact extent of the catalytic effect, it will be hard to predict at this point in time, but we hope that is at least a few times what we have provided for in the Budget,” he added.
Responding to questions on why the vouchers may not be used for F&B and retail purchases, Mr Chan said: "It's a balance between which sector we want to target, and also the simplicity in the administration so that people who (have) the vouchers can actually use it in a most convenient way. That's how we have designed the system."
Thanking tourist attractions for “putting in an effort” to put safe management measures in place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Chan said: “The other thing that they have done very well over the last few months or so was to help us work out the arrangement to have safe cohorting for the live performances.”
From Sep 18, attractions that have received approval to resume operations can apply to the STB to increase their operating capacity from 25 per cent to 50 per cent, subject to approval from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Attractions can also apply to increase the capacity of their number of outdoor shows to five zones, with 50 people in one zone, subject to safe management measures.
Outdoor shows were previously limited to a maximum of 50 people.