Surge in donations of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers for migrant workers, needy before Dec 31 booking deadline
SINGAPORE — With the clock ticking down to the Friday (Dec 31) deadline for Singaporeans to redeem their SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, some charities here have seen a spike in donations from Singaporeans to allow migrant workers and the less-privileged to make use of these vouchers.
- Charities and tourism operators have seen a surge in Singaporeans donating their SingapoRediscovers Vouchers ahead of the Dec 31 redemption deadline
- One tour agency noted that Singaporeans are donating unused portions of their vouchers
- A social enterprise said that public appeals by ministers have encouraged Singaporeans to donate
- Local tour agencies and attractions have also seen an increase in bookings with the vouchers this month
SINGAPORE — With the clock ticking down to the Friday (Dec 31) deadline for Singaporeans to book their SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, some charities here have seen a spike in donations from Singaporeans to allow migrant workers and the less-privileged to make use of these vouchers.
Last month, the Government extended the validity period for the vouchers from the end of this month to March 31, provided the vouchers are redeemed by making bookings by Dec 31.
As of Dec 1, about 1.4 million Singaporeans had used their vouchers at least once. This is less than half of Singapore’s adult population.
Several charities and tourism operators told TODAY that they have seen more Singaporeans stepping forward in the last few weeks to donate their unused vouchers to a good cause before the deadline.
Tour agency Xperience DMC said it has seen more than double the amount of vouchers donated this month since it started collecting donations on Nov 5.
Last month, it had collected S$55,930 worth of vouchers from the public. But from Dec 1 to Dec 27, it had collected $126,450, said the agency’s director, Ms Jane Goh.
As the year draws to a close, Singaporeans have been donating unused portions of their vouchers, said Ms Goh.
The donations are used to cover the cost of guided tours at local attractions for at-risk youth and seniors from Life Centre Community Services (LCCS) as well as migrant workers under the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO), a local movement to help migrant workers.
This month, 110 workers were taken to Universal Studios Singapore on Dec 25 and another 95 workers were taken to Singapore Zoo on Dec 26 with more trips planned for workers between January and March next year, said Ms Goh.
Social enterprise Corporate Alliance For Good (CAforGood) has also seen a surge in donations since late November, said its chairman Png Bee Hin.
As of Dec 28, 1,004 Singaporeans had made donations to the social enterprise through travel booking platform Traveloka.
By contrast, CAforGood had received only 17 donations between September, when it started accepting donations, and late November, said Mr Png.
The donations will go to charities partnering with CAforGood such as The Boys' Brigade, Club Rainbow, Equestrian Federation of Singapore and The Salvation Army.
Beneficiaries from these charities include migrant workers, the under-privileged and ex-offenders. They will get to participate in local tours.
Mr Png attributed the increase in donations this month to public appeals by ministers for Singaporeans to donate.
For example, CAforGood saw a surge in donors after Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Koh Poh Koon launched the social enterprise’s Donate for a Good Cause initiative on Nov 23.
CAforGood has been raising awareness among the public on how to donate their vouchers by releasing an instructional video as well as setting up a hotline that people can call if they need guidance on how to do so, said Mr Png.
“If there is a further extension (of the redemption deadline), I think it will be good because I think there are a lot more people out there who have not used their vouchers.Mr Stanley Foo, owner of Oriental Travel and Tours”
Other non-profit groups that have collected more SingapoRediscovers Vouchers donations this month include migrant worker advocacy group ItsRainingRaincoats and The Salvation Army.
Ms Joceyln Lim, a volunteer with IRR, said that from Dec 1 to Dec 24, it had received enough donations to fund 1,164 tickets for migrant workers to take a ride on the Singapore Flyer.
This is markedly higher than the 734 tickets it was able to fund through donations last month.
The Salvation Army said that it had received a total of 223 donated vouchers as of Dec 22, following the launch of its Blossoms of Friendship initiative on Dec 13, which involves volunteers hosting free tours for migrant workers to Gardens by the Bay.
It had received only 32 donated vouchers from early October to the end of November.
Travel booking platforms said they too have seen more people stepping forward to donate their vouchers, as well as a general rise in people spending their vouchers on local tours and attractions.
GlobalTix said that it has “definitely seen a surge” in donations and bookings as the redemption deadline for the vouchers draws near. It did not provide specific figures.
A spokesperson from Trip.com said that it has seen “a strong level of interest” towards its Pay It Forward campaign since mid-November. The campaign allows Singaporeans to donate the products they bought using their vouchers, such as attraction tickets or hotel stays, to specific local beneficiary groups.
The spokesperson added that the surge may be due to the year-end festive season as well as the approaching deadline for redeeming the vouchers.
Ms Sarah Wan, the general manager of Klook’s Singapore arm said that it has also observed more Singaporeans donating their vouchers through its platform as the year draws to a close.
To date, more than 30,000 tickets have been redeemed with SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, said Ms Wan.
MORE BOOKINGS FOR TOUR AGENCIES, ATTRACTIONS
Besides donations, local tour agencies and attractions have also seen a rush in people looking to spend their vouchers before the deadline on Friday.
Indoor skydiving facility iFly Singapore said it has seen ticket bookings double in December compared to last month.
It attributed the increase to the ongoing school holidays, as well as more Singaporeans looking to use their SingapoRediscovers Vouchers before the expiration date.
To encourage more Singaporeans to spend their vouchers on iFly Singapore tickets, it has launched gift vouchers for the holiday period which can be purchased with the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers.
Local tour agencies Let’s Go Tour Singapore and Oriental Travel and Tours also said they have seen an increase in tour bookings this month compared to last month.
Mr Stanley Foo, the owner of Oriental Travel and Tours, said that tours for December are fully booked, and customers are now booking tours for the next few months.
“If there is a further extension (of the redemption deadline), I think it will be good because I think there are a lot more people out there who have not used their vouchers,” he added.