Singapore’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Few people are taking pictures in front of the inexplicably-popular Merlion, and even fewer are screaming their lungs out on roller coasters at Universal Studios.
Luxurious hotels have now become luxurious ghost towns, as only those who might have the coronavirus are checking in these days.
The obvious solution is to fully open our borders and let tourists flood the country, but that would also allow the coronavirus to flood the country, something none of us want.
So, what can the government do?
Give its citizens money to visit these attractions, of course.
Every S’porean Will Get S$100 Tourism Vouchers To Use For Staycations, Attractions & Tours
Believe it or not, this is not a clickbait headline.
In December 2020, all Singaporeans aged 18 years and above will receive S$100 worth of vouchers for staycations, attractions, and tours, according to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
Called “SingapoRediscovers”, the vouchers will be distributed in denominations of S$10, and will be transferred digitally via the SingPass government portal.
They will be valid for seven months until June 2021, reported TODAY.
The vouchers can only be redeemed at licensed hotels, tourist attractions, and tours that have been allowed to reopen by STB.
The tours must also be approved by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
The authorities will provide a S$10 subsidy for child and youth tickets for attractions and tours for the same period as well.
Reader: Wait, the government is giving me money to, basically, have fun?
They are indeed.
Reader: I’m confused.
Well, it’s all for our poor tourism industry.
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”.
Some Outdoor Shows May Be Allow 250 Attendants
We’ve repeatedly been told to avoid large crowds and only socialise in groups of five, but thanks to the dwindling number of infections here, some tourist attractions will be allowed to increase their capacity.
According to TODAY, tourist attractions that have reopened will be allowed to apply to STB to increase their operating capacity from 25% up to 50%.
They can also apply to increase the capacity at their outdoor shows but will need approval from MTI as well.
Those who are approved may be able to scale up their capacity to a maximum of 250 people.
There’s no need to be alarmed, though. It’s not like all 250 people will be huddled close together in one big group hug.
Five zones with 50 people each will be set up, with at least three metres between them.
There will also be at least one metre within the zone between individuals not from the same group.
STB said the easing of rules was a result of operators demonstrating “good compliance” with safe management measures.
Meanwhile, some restaurants are serving beer in teapots.
STB will also conduct enforcement checks to ensure that attractions can implement the necessary safe management measures effectively with larger capacities.