SINGAPORE: The SingapoRediscovers vouchers (SRV) scheme will be extended to the end of the year, with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to introduce 'enhancements' making it easier for Singaporeans to use the vouchers.
In a press release on Friday (Apr 30), STB said the scheme, which had initially been slated to expire at the end of June, will now be extended to Dec 31.
It was announced last September that every Singaporean aged 18 and above will receive S$100 worth of the vouchers, which can be used on staycations, attraction tickets and tours. These vouchers can be redeemed online through authorised booking partners.
A S$10 subsidy will also be provided for children and youth tickets for attractions and tours.
READ: Commentary: It’s a shame redeeming SingapoRediscovers vouchers can be such a hassle
STB chief executive Keith Tan said in the press release that many Singaporeans have given "useful suggestions" to improve the scheme.
"I thank them for their feedback, which we have studied carefully together with the five authorised booking partners. We have made some improvements in the last few months, and will continue to do so, so that more Singaporeans can rediscover Singapore using their vouchers,” he explained.
“Since the launch of the SingapoRediscovers campaign and the SRV scheme last year, we have been heartened by the tourism sector’s efforts to create new products and experiences for locals," said Mr Tan.
As of Friday, more than a million adult Singapore citizens have used their vouchers at least once, making a total of 1.3 million transactions, said STB.
Some users had previously raised concerns about the complexities and inconvenience of having to sieve through offerings on five different booking platforms, and other hiccups they encountered while making their bookings online. Others have also said having the online redemption process can be intimidating for those who are less tech-savvy, especially the elderly.
READ: STB says it has no plans to change redemption method of SingapoRediscovers vouchers
Speaking to the media ahead of launch event for an art exhibition on Friday, Minister of State for Trade Alvin Tan said the scheme’s "primary objective" is to bolster the tourism sector.
“What’s very critical is that we’re constantly looking at feedback, and the scheme’s primary objective is to help our tourism sector to get some help in the midst of the crisis and the pandemic. And the tourism sector has been hit very hard, and so I think we need to make sure that we are very clear about the objective,” he said.
“The second part of it is then to make it as easy as possible for Singaporeans to redeem the vouchers, so we are constantly looking at different ways.”
He noted that the Government remains open to more feedback and suggestions from the public.
Later in the evening, Mr Tan also launched the light-up of the exhibition at Gardens by the Bay.
“Extending the tourism vouchers also gives Singaporeans the opportunity to take more time to see what we have on offer - the sights, smells and sounds of all of the tourism attractions in Singapore,” he said.
“But also, it is also opportune because it allows Singaporeans to space out their visits to all of the different attractions in the midst of the pandemic, to reduce unnecessary crowding during this time.”
Earlier this month, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a written parliamentary reply that there were no plans for the Government to change the scheme’s redemption deadline of Jun 30 “for now”.
STB noted on Friday that both large and smaller merchants have seen "uplift" in revenues since the launch of the scheme in December last year.
It said: "STB has observed strong interest in attraction bookings, which make up more than half of all SRV transactions, as well as hotel bookings which have seen the highest transaction revenue. Tour bookings have also more than tripled between April 2021 and December 2020."
"To date, the SRV scheme has contributed over S$200 million to Singapore’s tourism-related businesses. This consists of approximately S$147 million in vouchers and cash payments on tourism bookings, and a further S$55 million in additional spending on sectors such as retail, F&B and transport," STB added.
ENHANCEMENTS TO SRV SCHEME
From the third quarter of this year, citizens who are unable to access their Singpass accounts can visit more than 30 community clubs and community centres to redeem their vouchers using their NRICs, said STB.
“Authorised SRV ambassadors will scan their NRIC using a secure Government mobile application, while staff from authorised booking partners will assist with booking SRV-eligible products,” said STB.
“For a shorter waiting time, citizens are advised to decide on the product they want and their preferred dates before visiting these counters.”
READ: About three-quarters of adult Singaporeans have not used their SingapoRediscovers vouchers
In addition, STB will also enhance the voucher website to make it easier to search for SRV-eligible offerings, it said.
This enhancement will allow it to feature more monthly deals from all five authorised booking partners, as well as information on the various SRV donation drives, said STB.
Products that are valid from Jul 1 can be purchased from the start of June.
STB and its booking partners are also working with various attractions to provide SRV redemption counters at various locations, it said.
“STB will continue to enhance the redemption process, including working with attractions to make it easier for users to book time-slots for their products,” it said.