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Govt to invest S$500 million to help tourism sector recover, aims to position S'pore as 'urban wellness haven'

SINGAPORE — In a bid to reel in travellers after Singapore eased border restrictions earlier this month, the Government has set aside half a billion dollars to support the tourism sector's recovery from the pandemic.

Tourists passing the glass dome of Gardens by the Bay. A Wellness Festival Singapore is set to be launched in June 2022 and it will feature a multi-sensory pop-up space at Gardens by the Bay.
Tourists passing the glass dome of Gardens by the Bay. A Wellness Festival Singapore is set to be launched in June 2022 and it will feature a multi-sensory pop-up space at Gardens by the Bay.
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  • The Government is investing S$500 million to help the tourism sector recover
  • The money will go into supporting and sustaining strategic manpower capabilities and offsetting business costs, among others
  • Plans to revitalise the industry include a new festival that promotes wellness in June, as well as a new integrated board sports facility along Orchard Road

SINGAPORE — In a bid to reel in travellers after Singapore eased border restrictions earlier this month, the Government has set aside half a billion dollars to support the tourism sector's recovery from the pandemic.

Speaking on Wednesday (April 6) at an industry conference, Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, said that the investment will go into supporting and sustaining "strategic manpower capabilities in the sector, offset business costs and amplify our international recovery plans".

"Looking ahead, while the outlook for international travel is hopeful, we must remain agile and be prepared to face challenges and setbacks that may come our way," he added.

"With the experience and learning that we have gained in the past few years, I am confident that we will be able to emerge stronger together." 

The plans to revitalise the tourism industry include a new festival that promotes wellness in June, as well as a new integrated board sports facility along Orchard Road. The facility is part of a move to remake the shopping belt into a lifestyle destination. 

The facility, which will be called Trifecta, will allow visitors to skate, surf, ski and snowboard, the Singapore Tourism Board's chief executive Keith Tan said at the conference, which was attended by industry leaders.

The announcement came shortly after Singapore eased its cross-border controls for Covid-19 from the start of this month. 

Plans to revitalise Orchard Road have been ongoing, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Keith Tan said at the same conference.  

"We must focus on raising the 'delight' or 'fun' quotient of the events and experiences here in Singapore.

"Don’t just rely on formulas or templates that worked in the past. We must come up with innovative ways to enable our events, experiences and offerings to surprise and stand out," he added.

In 2019, the Urban Redevelopment Authority introduced the Strategic Development Incentive scheme to drive the redevelopment of older buildings and turn them into more productive mixed-use developments — by allowing developers to increase their gross floor area, among other things, if they have proposals that transform the precinct. 

That year, a ministerial committee working on the Government's plans to rejuvenate the well-known shopping belt in Singapore eventually came up with Design Orchard, an incubation space for homegrown brands, among other projects.

Mr Keith Tan of STB added that the Government will "double-down" its efforts for SingapoReimagine, its international recovery campaign to welcome travellers by realising their passion for travel "through fresh and innovative experiences" in Singapore. 

"While it will take a few years for international demand for travel to return to pre-pandemic levels, we need to effectively recapture the pent-up travel demand in the immediate term so that we can speed up our tourism recovery," he said.

Several growth areas for Singapore tourism have been identified, including becoming a sustainable urban destination, as well as positioning itself as an "urban wellness haven".

"Post-pandemic, we want Singapore to be seen as a destination with a wide range of accessible experiences that support the holistic well-being of our leisure and business visitors," the STB chief said.  

WHAT'S NEW

Tourism recovery

  • STB will be launching a new incentive programme to offer visitors a complimentary experience when they visit Singapore, in order to give visitors “hidden gem” surprises so that they may experience more of Singapore in an unexpected way
  • The agency will intensify regional and global partnerships to feature Singapore. Such partners would include online travel agents such as Expedia and Traveloka, as well as aviation partners such as Singapore Airlines
  • It will also grow the country's position as a node for business tourism by drawing business events that are relevant to the needs of the future, such as those involved in sustainability, urban solutions, food security, energy security, financial technology and advanced manufacturing

Tourism Sustainability Programme

  • A new Tourism Sustainability Programme will be launched to provide tourism businesses with resources to identify strategic areas to embark on or expand sustainability efforts. It will focus on three main areas: Capability and growth, innovation, and education and awareness 
  • The programme will support capability building through training, as well as to provide grants to businesses
  • Through the Singapore Tourism Accelerator, the Government will support the development and test-bedding of innovative sustainable solutions

An urban wellness haven

  • In 2019, the global wellness tourism market was estimated at more than US$720 billion (close to S$990 billion). This figure is projected to grow over the next five years to reach US$1.1 trillion by 2025 
  • Singapore has many opportunities to curate wellness experiences and leverage its identity as a "City in Nature", Mr Keith Tan said, referring to the Government’s vision and goal for the country to create a liveable and sustainable home for its people by increasing green spaces
  • A 10-day Wellness Festival Singapore, which is focused on wellness and mindfulness, is slated to be launched in June. It will include a multi-sensory pop-up space at Gardens by the Bay, along with wellness masterclasses that offer a series of art, wellness and mindfulness programmes at the National Art Gallery of Singapore

Singapore's 'fun' quotient 

  • Homegrown brand Mr Bucket Chocolaterie will launch a new Chocolate Factory concept later this year at the Dempsey Road dining enclave. It will feature Singapore’s first build-your-own chocolate bar section, with distinctive Asian flavours 
  • Later in 2022, Gardens by the Bay will launch a new attraction called Avatar: The Experience, which is based on the 2009 Hollywood movie

Ready for the future

  • STB is piloting proof-of-concepts for "extended reality", which encompasses augmented, mixed and virtual reality. To do this, it launched a grant call earlier in February called "The Next Experience"

Related topics

orchard road STB tourism travel Covid-19

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