Yup, you won’t need to go overseas to partake in winter sports anymore.
At the opening of the Tourism Industry Conference organised by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) today (6 April), Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan announced that the “Government has earmarked close to half a billion dollars to support the tourism recovery in the coming years.”
Even though it may still take some time before regular international travel across the world kicks back into full swing, Mr Tan noted that Singapore will need to try and start attracting visitors.
This will allow the country to increase the “pent-up travel demand” and accelerate the recovery of Singapore’s tourism sector, especially since COVID-19 restrictions have put much strain on the industry.
Keith Tan, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), also spoke at the event, which was held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
He also highlighted the importance of rolling out unique ways to differentiate Singapore from other similar destinations around the globe.
Hence, new tourist attractions and events that focus on wellness and sustainability will be established in the near future so as to help Singapore maintain its role as a “Global-Asia” node for business tourism.
In terms of wellness, the very first Wellness Festival Singapore will be held this June across the whole country.
With urban wellness being all the rave in recent years, a 2021 report by the Global Wellness Institute, a non-profit organisation, predicted that wellness tourism will rise to become a market worth US$1.1 trillion (approximately S$1.5 trillion) by 2025.
The festival will include exhibits like a multi-sensory pop-up exhibit at Gardens by the Bay with wellness masterclasses, along with the first-ever Livewell Festival at Sentosa.
“We must position Singapore’s status as an urban wellness haven, as a busy city yet with easy access to wellness offerings for everyone,” Mr Keith Tan explained.
He also urged various tourism players to increase the amount of wellness content in the products, activities and tours that they offer.
Apart from wellness, another main focus for Singapore’s new tourist attractions will also be sustainability, especially since many travellers are now becoming increasingly environmentally friendly.
The Republic will be partaking in the Global Destination Sustainability Index for the first time, and will be using this chance to gauge its sustainability performance against other MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) destinations.
The Tourism Sustainability Programme will also be implemented, and this programme will grant tourism businesses access to resources that will help them mark out various areas in which they can improve or start implementing sustainability efforts.
These “areas” include receiving grants to improve their company’s competitiveness and aiding the Singapore Tourism Accelerator to develop and test out sustainable solutions.
Additionally, companies can also help by educating and sharing various sustainability-based practices through multiple avenues, such as the Singapore Hotel Sustainability Roadmap.
The Singapore Hotel Sustainability Roadmap, which was launched through a collaboration between STB and the Singapore Hotel Association last month, implements sustainability targets for the hotel industry and offers strategies to help hotels in Singapore achieve these targets.
If you think that the tourism sector is only going to focus on two aspects, you couldn’t be more wrong.
STB also announced that they will be pumping more resources into the SingapoReimagine campaign, which is meant to boost international recovery. So far, it has already gained much attention in other countries such as Australia, India and Indonesia.
“To support these efforts at driving consideration and conversion, STB will launch a new incentive programme that will offer visitors a complimentary experience when they visit Singapore,” STB’s Mr Tan clarified.
Although the programme has not been named yet, it is confirmed that it will be launched later this year.
He also urged tourism partners to start providing different experiences that are special and out-of-the-norm, as these can act as “hidden gem” experiences that will allow tourists to find out more about Singapore in a way unlike any other.
Mr Tan highlighted that this would appeal to repeat visitors in particular, as they may already have some prior knowledge about Singapore.
And for the part that everyone’s been waiting for, here are all the details about the new snowboard and ski facilities.
As part of efforts to improve preexisting destinations, a new integrated action sports facility named the Trifecta will be launched.
The Trifecta, which will be situated at the vacant site next to Somerset Skate Park at Orchard, will allow visitors to skate, surf, ski and snowboard amongst other activities.
Relaxation of Travel Restrictions Around the World
With border restrictions around the world gradually relaxing, countries all around the world have been gearing up to welcome tourists back into their countries after two years of travel restrictions since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
As for Singapore, vaccinated travellers across the world will be able to enter without needing to serve quarantine, which will greatly increase Singapore’s appeal to tourists.
Furthermore, many aspects of our nightlife, such as KTVs and pubs, have also been recently allowed to reopen. The sale of alcohol beyond 10.30 pm has also been allowed once again.
The maximum number of people for social gatherings has also been raised to ten people even for maskless activities, and masks are no longer compulsory outdoors.
Another notable relaxation of the Safe Management Measures (SMMs) includes the removal of zoning requirements for events, as well as the increase in capacity limits for large events that have over 1,000 attendees.
Mr Alvin Tan explained how SMM will increase our appeal to tourists across the globe, saying, “Easing our community SMMs is crucial in laying the foundation for us to live with Covid-19 and resume normal activities in the long run. More importantly, it sends a strong message to international travellers and partners that Singapore is committed to reopening safely.
“At the same time, we will continue to take a balanced and sensible approach with the relaxation of measures, so that we can ensure that these events remain safe and seamless for locals and international travellers.”
Singapore Still the Most Considered Destination for Tourists
Mr Alvin Tan also brought up a brand health survey that STB conducted earlier this year in February, where respondents were asked to indicate countries which they would consider travelling to for the next six months, whether it be for leisure or business.
Singapore continued to be the “most considered” destination for leisure trips as well as BTMICE (business travel and meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions) and ranked higher than other similar cities such as Tokyo and Dubai.
Apart from that, Mr Keith Tan also encouraged industry players to start planning business events regarding topics that will be relevant to future needs.
These needs include topics such as food security, energy security and fintech, and having firms that have expertise in this area will allow Singapore to maintain its significance in a fast-paced world like today’s.
Singapore to Host 25,000 People From Around the Globe in Upcoming Weeks
Over the next few weeks, Singapore will also be hosting multiple large-scale events and welcoming participants from all over the world, an indication of its success as a popular location choice when it comes to global-scale meetings and events.
These events include Singapore International Water Week, CleanEnviro Summit Singapore and Asia Tech x Singapore, and it is estimated that there will be a whopping 25,000 participants from all over the world.
“We want Singapore to be a home to best-in-class MICE events, especially those that can bring Asian, European and American businesses together,” Mr Keith Tan explained, touching on the country’s goals regarding this issue for the future.
“In this way, our MICE sector can support the growth of Singapore-based companies in these areas, giving them a competitive advantage, and strengthen Singapore’s relevance at a time when globalisation is under severe pressure,” he concluded.
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