When the government announced that Singaporeans would be getting free $100 vouchers to spend at hotels, attractions, and tours, it felt like an online pop-up ad offering the chance to win an iPhone for simply taking a survey; too good to be true.
But come 1 Dec, Singaporeans will be able to drown all their 2020 sorrows in a lovely staycation or tourist attraction.
The government has reportedly spent S$320 million on the vouchers in a bid to boost the tourism sector which has taken a beating during the pandemic.
As Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing clarified, this is not “social assistance”, but an “economic scheme to help our tourist attractions preserve their capabilities that have been built up over the years.”
So, the merchants must be happy about this move, right?
Well, yes and no.
Merchants Worried About Platform Fees & Speed of Payment for SingapoRediscovers Bookings
They’re certainly happy about getting more customers, of course.
But many merchants are concerned about the speed of payments from booking platforms, as well as the platform fees involved.
According to CNA, small businesses in particular are worried about the timing of payouts after customers make bookings with them.
This is because the payments will first have to be cleared by platform and tour operators that they’re tied up with before it lands in the merchant’s hands.
The tourism vouchers are digital, meaning it will be used to offset ticket purchases and hotel stays.
And you can’t book a staycation, tour, or ticket for an attraction directly with a merchant. Rather you’ll have to go through the five authorised booking platforms:
- Changi Travel Service
- Global Tix
Another reason merchants are concerned is that these platforms will take a small cut of the payments as a platform fee.
It’s unclear what percentage of the payments will be taken by the booking platforms, however.
Under the scheme, there will be a total of 37 attractions, 147 hotels, and 79 tours on offer.
How to Redeem Voucher
If you haven’t checked your mailbox since the circuit breaker, you might have missed the redemption letter that came in the mail recently.
Singaporeans 18 and above will receive their $100 vouchers on 1 Dec and will be able to redeem it immediately.
Here are the four steps for redemption:
- Go online and visit one of the five booking platforms listed above
- Select your desired experiences and dates
- Log in via SingPass and generate a promo code for your purchase
- Complete your purchase and receive an e-confirmation
Then simply show the e-receipt to the merchant upon arrival.
Alternatively, if you hate dealing with computers, you can also collect your voucher at physical stores across the country.
Visit go.gov.sg/srvouchers for more information.
Featured Image: Christian Heinz / Shutterstock.com