SINGAPORE: As more travellers go online to plan their holidays, the local travel industry is looking to new business models to help boost its sustainability, which has seen sluggish growth in recent years.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) on Tuesday (Aug 2) announced a plan to help travel agents go beyond ticketing and order-taking to transform into "designers of travel experiences".
The Travel Agent Roadmap targets three areas: Business transformation, technology and manpower.
"We believe the Travel Agent Roadmap can create unprecedented opportunities to bring about business transformation for the travel agent industry," said NATAS President Devinder Ohri. "The roadmap is like a signal to the industry to transform."
To aid industry players, a new business transformation committee will be set up by NATAS. This committee will develop a step-by-step guidebook to educate travel agents on how to adopt suitable new models for their firms, and is slated to be ready by end-2017.
To deal with technology challenges, STB and NATAS will organise showcases twice a year to allow agents to learn about latest technology solutions for the industry. An accompanying guidebook will also be provided for agents. Firms are encouraged to tap on financial funding like the STB's Business Improvement Fund for IT implementations.
As for manpower challenges, such as the lack of new blood joining the industry, talent recruitment drives will be carried out. STB and NATAS will reach out to polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to increase awareness of career pathways available in the industry.
A slew of initiatives to help agents retain talents will also be rolled out. This will include seminars, courses to equip workers with relevant and materials to help induct new hires.
The event was held at the Raffles Convention Centre, and featured tech exhibits by more than 15 vendors and information booths for travel agents to find out more about grants and assistance available for them.