Living in Singapore in 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride; in the beginning of the year, we were encouraged to go out often to keep the economy moving. Then we were told to stay at home if not we’d be jailed.
And now, we’re once again encouraged to take a holiday right here in Singapore.
Instead of finding a vaccine for COVID-19, I’m hoping that scientists would find a fast-forward button for 2020.
So, what’s this new initiative? Why is it called Singapolidy? Are we paid to go out?
Here’s what you need to know.
Tourism Industry Has Taken a Severe Hit
Before knowing what Singapoliday is, you need to know some numbers, because seeing RWS holding a retrenchment exercise might show you how serious the situation is but there’s no number to back it up.
In the first quarter of 2020, whereby we were still moving around Singapore and kissing strangers without repercussions, the tourism industry was already hit badly. In the first quarter of 2019, tourism receipts (i.e. money spent by tourists) were $6.5 billion. In the same quarter this year, it’s dropped to $4 billion.
And do note that it was before Circuit Breaker kicked in, and border controls were still progressively tightening.
The numbers for April and May are even worse—the visitor arrivals, comparing April 2019 to April 2020, dropped by a whopping…100%. April 2020 saw only 750 visitor arrivals.
There’s some improvement in May 2020. Comparing May 2019 to May 2020, the drop is…99.9%.
The June figures aren’t out yet, but I’m guessing there should be some improvement. Maybe a drop of 99.8% instead?
Needless to say, unless we do something, those in the tourism industries are going to post more online pleas.
And so, a task force was formed.
Tourism Recovery Action Task Force
When COVID-19 was still in its infant stage, a task force to lay out a recovery plan for the tourism industry was already formed. Known as the Tourism Recovery Action Task Force, it’s formed by the Government and comprises people from both the public and private sector.
The task force was announced back on 11 February 2020, and back then, their work “include identifying opportunities arising from the nCoV crisis, driving and implementing measures to instil confidence in Singapore’s tourism establishments, as well as co-creating and initiating recovery plans.”
Yes, we were still calling COVID-19 nCoV when that task force was formed.
SingapoRediscovers, The Task Force’s “Son”
Tourism Recovery Action Task Force might be able to lay out a recovery plan, but there’s nothing to recover if there’s no tourist.
Which is why SingapoRediscovers, which stems from the work of the Tourism Recovery Action Task Force, is launched.
It’s unknown whether the task force would still be active, but honestly speaking, since recovery isn’t going to be a solution, discovery might be the only option.
So, simi is SingapoRediscovers?
SingapoRediscovers, The Most Uncreative Name to Come Out from Non-Essential Workers
Instead of getting tourists to take images with Merlion, the goal is to get people in Singapore to do it so that Merlion would still feel useful and continue to vomit.
Simply put, it’s a campaign that supports local lifestyle and tourism business and encourages Singaporeans and residents to explore different sides of Singapore.
The focus is on three areas:
- Partnering local communities to help locals discover hidden gems
- Curating precinct itineraries to create authentic experiences for locals
- Collaborating with hotels, tour operators, attractions and precincts to develop quality experiences and attractive promotions
So Merlion might just team up with Madame Tussauds to come out with a new restaurant called Jamus’ Eggs. Or something like that, but you get the idea: it’s all about making things more interesting so that businesses can still cheat our money—I mean, business will encourage us Singaporeans to spend more locally.
But where does Singapoliday come into play here?
Packaging Events into a Holiday in Singapore
Remember how Merlion team up with Madame Tussauds?
Well, they can also collaborate with Hotel 81 and then come out with a holiday plan; say, a 1-day tour to Madame Tussauds, a night in a Hotel 81 room and a 1-day photoshop with the vomiting fish that has a lion head. Then that would be a mini-holiday within Singapore.
But you’re wondering: hey, nothing’s new, right?
Remember: this is all just an idea, and a tour agency can spice it up by, erm, letting the “customers” take the MRT. That would be a refreshing experience for people who’ve never taken the public transport before!
In other words…
Singapoliday: an Innovative Way to Make Yishun Great Again
We’ve the perfect example.
Here’s a sponsored video we’ve done for Nee Soon Town Council, and the goal was to make Yishun great again:
After watching it, do you feel like heading to Yishun for a mini-holiday, because you didn’t know that there were so many things to do there?
The gist is there, but instead of Yishun, you can try going to many other areas. People in the tourism industry can come out with the plans to push these “attractions”.
Some Programmes Have Already Started
Want to start having your Singapoliday? You can do so now as some businesses have started coming out with innovative packages.
For example, one of them is a night walk organised by Oriental Travel & Tours; for $150, you get to explore several “creepy” places “including a cemetery and hear creepy tales of Singapore from our guide.”
Yay, just nice, five people.
You can check out all the “packages” or “bundles” in the Visit Singapore website, which used to be for tourists but is now catered for us.
In fact, some of the “packages” are staycations and the prices are rather attractive (if you don’t compare it with, like, Thailand lah)!
But in order to come out with these “packages” or “bundles”, you need money.
That’s when you’d get help from Ah Gong.
$45 Million for the Campaign and Its Supporting Marketing Initiatives
A whopping $45 million will be allocated to support the campaign and its marketing. Businesses are therefore encouraged to join the campaign. It’s unknown how this amount would be used, but you can bet that with financial help, we’d be seeing more innovative bundles.
And for us consumers, we’d be doing it the way we’ve been accustomed to.
Expedia and Klook to Market The Campaigns
Where do you go to when you’re planning a holiday? Expedia for the flight tickets, and Klook for the discounted entry tickets?
Well, that’d remain the same as Expedia and Klook are partners in SingapoRediscovers, whereby you can do the same thing that you’ve done while planning an overseas trip: booking a hotel with Expedia and an attraction ticket from Klook.
The only difference is, of course, that you don’t have to book a flight. But who knows; maybe SBS Transit would join the campaign and you can buy a bus ticket to Sentosa, too.
Nine-Month Campaign by Three Giants
The entire campaign will last for nine months, and it’s an initiative by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
You can say that the authorities are now encouraging domestic tourism, much like what other countries are doing (though they’ve many states and cities to choose from).
At least now, we know one thing: life is going to get a tad more exciting and vibrant from now on.