2018 marked another strong year for Singapore’s tourism sector, with both tourism receipts and visitor arrivals achieving new highs. The core tourism industries of BTMICE, Hotels, and Cruises also posted strong results.
Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Mr Keith Tan, said, “We are pleased that Singapore’s tourism sector performed well in 2018 despite some economic uncertainties. We were fortunate to have benefited from a confluence of positive factors such as strong Asia-Pacific travel demand, increased flight connectivity to Singapore, and various high-profile events. It is also heartening to see our marketing efforts and collaborations with industry partners bearing fruit.”
STB continued its next wave of marketing activities, building on the momentum of the Passion Made Possible global tourism campaign. STB targeted specific passion tribes in emerging markets such as Myanmar, Vietnam and Russia, organising various activities such as a pop-up art and augmented reality technology showcase , karaoke booths and exclusive parties to shine the spotlight on what Singapore has to offer in arts and culture, as well as in nightlife and entertainment.
To further enhance the visitor experience and drive spending, STB also embarked on new strategic marketing partnerships with partners such as Changi Airport Group, Alipay, Spotify and Sentosa Development Corporation. These partnerships led to improvements such as more cashless payments, attractive stopover packages and destination-related music recommendations for overseas visitors.
STB helps travel agents through digital transformation
The FinLab, a joint-venture between United Overseas Bank (UOB) and SGInnovate, announced its collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) last year to help travel agencies advance their businesses through a digital transformation programme for businesses.
Through the three-month acceleration programme, travel agencies learn how to identify the areas that hinder growth and which can be resolved through technology. They are also guided on how to apply digital solutions to address their needs.
Mr. Steven Ler, President, NATAS, said, “As we move into the digital economy, it is important for the travel industry to innovate so ensure that it continues to benefit from growth opportunities in the long-term. One of the ways to do so by collaborating with partners that have the expertise to help our travel agents develop digital competences.”
Measures to promote technology adoption and work towards Smart Hotels
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), together with the Hotel Innovation Committee (HIC) led by the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA), launched several projects at the end of last year as part of continuous efforts to encourage technology adoption and innovation by hotels, as well as improve job processes across the industry. The efforts aim to boost productivity – which has grown about five per cent annually since 2015 – and create higher value-added jobs to attract and retain talents in the hotel industry.
Launched by the HIC with the support of STB, the Smart Hotel Technology Guide outlines the vision of a smart hotel and identifies the relevant technologies for hotels to realise this vision with a focus first on front-of-house operations.
Cashless Sentosa for Chinese visitors
This year, Alipay, Sentosa and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced the launch of Alipay’s payment solutions across 70% of the merchants that participate in the Sentosa Islander Membership programme. This makes Sentosa the first major integrated leisure destination in Singapore to go cashless for Chinese visitors.
The Alipay payment service, which is popular with Chinese users, is entering Sentosa at a time when China is growing in importance as a key source market for Singapore – it was the top market for visitor arrivals (1.7 million), as well as tourism receipts (SGD2 billion) for Singapore in the first half of 2018.
These are just a few examples of how Singapore’s Tourism Board is constantly innovating using the latest technologies and rolling out initiatives to help keep key industries digitally skilled to keep Singapore on top of the Tourist Destination charts.