SINGAPORE: The tourism industry in Singapore can better leverage technology to drive quality growth, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran at the 2018 Tourism Industry Conference on Tuesday morning (Apr 17).
He highlighted that technology can be used to sharpen marketing and outreach efforts, refresh tourism offerings and drive greater productivity.
The Singapore Tourism Board announced in February that visitor arrivals and tourism receipts for 2017 hit record highs for the second time in two years.
Arrivals to Singapore increased by 6.2 per cent to 17.4 million, with seven of the top 15 markets - China, India, Vietnam, Philippines, United States, United Kingdom and Germany - also hitting record visitor arrivals.
However, Mr Iswaran stressed that Singapore’s tourism industry's continued good growth cannot be taken for granted, due to pervasive trade protectionist sentiments which may put a drag on global economic growth.
He added that this could affect tourism, showing how Singapore’s tourism industry remains vulnerable to such fluctuations in the global economy.
"Travellers are also increasingly discerning, seeking new and differentiated experiences wherever they go,” he added.
The Tourism Information and Services Hub (TIH), was an important way technology has been applied in the sector, said STB chief executive officer Lionel Yeo at the conference. Mr Yeo officially announced that the TIH was already “live”.
“TIH is an integrated B2B2C platform to help businesses connect, collaborate and syndicate tourism information and services in real-time," said Mr Yeo.
He elaborated that TIH is a one-stop source, accessible for free, to find out what’s happening in Singapore, opening hours of places, walking trails and latest deals.
He said that TIH fulfils this need by aggregating tourism content and travel-related services, and makes this available to tourists through application programming interfaces.
Commenting on TIH, Mr Iswaran encouraged Singapore’s tourism stakeholders to share and contribute data on the platform, in order to gain deeper insights into tourists’ habits and preferences by pooling data.
Mr Iswaran also lauded the Find Your Place in History trail, a walking route which will feature projection installations at various historical spots such as Telok Ayer.
The trail will be launched in conjunction with Singapore’s Bicentennial in 2019.
Mr Iswaran pointed out that the trail was an example of leveraging technology to allow visitors to experience Singapore through the years, in an engaging and interactive manner.