SINGAPORE: The tourism sector will receive a fresh injection of close to half a billion dollars to support its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as Singapore looks to reconnect with the world, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan announced on Wednesday (Apr 6).
This comes as Singapore has reopened its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers, removing the need for COVID-19 testing and quarantine.
Speaking at the Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) Tourism Industry Conference on Wednesday, Mr Tan said the funding will be used to support and sustain strategic manpower capabilities in the sector, offset business costs, as well as amplify our international recovery plans “in the coming years”.
He added that it will also drive international tourism recovery and help the industry emerge stronger with new products and experiences through STB’s grants and schemes.
“This year, we will double down on our effort for SingapoReimagine, our international recovery campaign to welcome travellers to realise their passion for travel through fresh and innovative experiences in Singapore,” said Mr Tan.
Over the past two years, the Government provided the sector with more than S$1 billion to help alleviate costs such as rental and license fee waivers, and to support jobs and capabilities development. It also set aside S$320 million to drive domestic demand through the SingapoRediscovers voucher scheme.
While the outlook for international travel looks hopeful, Mr Tan stressed that the sector must remain agile and be prepared to face challenges and setbacks that may come its way.
He called on stakeholders and industry partners to tap on government support to transform their business and develop new capabilities.
SUSTAINABILITY AND WELLNESS
In particular, wellness and sustainability were highlighted as areas of focus for Singapore’s tourism sector due to growing global demand.
With Singapore eyeing to become a sustainable tourism destination, Mr Tan announced that a new programme will be launched to support tourism businesses in their sustainability efforts.
The Tourism Sustainability Programme (TSP) will focus on building capabilities, spurring innovation as well as education and awareness.
To encourage innovation, the Government will support the development and test-bedding of innovative sustainable solutions through the Singapore Tourism Accelerator. Under this, innovative technology providers and tourism businesses will work together to develop solutions in areas such as waste, water, energy and carbon emissions management that can be scaled up across the industry.
Beyond this, Singapore is also looking to position itself as an “urban wellness haven”.
Mr Tan noted that the global wellness tourism market was estimated at more than US$720 billion in 2019. However, with the pandemic raising greater awareness about the importance of holistic wellbeing, this is projected to grow in the next five years to reach US$1.1 trillion by 2025 according to non-profit organisation Global Wellness Institute.
“We must target secondary wellness tourists, who seek wellness experiences or healthy options during their travel to Singapore, whether for leisure or business,” said Mr Tan.
He added that there are many opportunities for Singapore to curate wellness experiences that build on its identity as a City in Nature and it’s green spaces.
“We can use leverage technology and our multicultural roots to develop innovative wellness products and experiences that improve people’s physical fitness and health, and recharge and rejuvenate their minds,” he said.