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Singapore’s Tourism Board and NATAS to partner with The FinLab to help travel agencies evolve through digital transformation

Singapore’s Tourism Board and NATAS to partner with The FinLab to help travel agencies evolve through digital transformation

The Ministry of
Communications and Information announced
that The FinLab would be collaborating with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the
National
Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS)
to help travel
agencies evolve and renovate their businesses via a digital transformation
programme for the selected businesses.

Singapore’s economy relies heavily on the
tourism industry, which accounts for approximately four per cent of its annual gross domestic product. However, changing
consumer behaviour and the growing
competition for tourism dollars regionally pose a significant challenge to the
industry.

Consequently, to ensure the industry’s
continued growth, it is important for members of the industry to grasp the
currently available opportunities in the online travel market, particularly
those in the Asia Pacific online travel market, which is expected to grow
by 13 per cent
by focusing on technological transformation.

None the less, it was noted that despite
most consumers moving to online booking sites, travel agencies retain the
opportunity to go beyond the usual issuance of e-tickets and vouchers and, in
addition to these services, provide consumers with more personalised services. Thus, travel agencies must understand how
they can apply digital solutions to understand and connect more effectively
with their target audience along with personal interaction. 

In the face of a dynamic economic landscape
in Singapore, travel agencies and the companies and initiatives that seek to
help them grow and transform must remain constantly cognizant of the challenges
that SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) face in harnessing the potential
of technology and in transforming it into benefits for their businesses.

Experts maintain that in order for the
travel industry to continue to capitalise
on growth opportunities in the long-term it must continue to innovate. One avenue
to do this is to collaborate with
partners who have the expertise to assist Singapore’s travel agents in developing digital competencies.

The FinLab, a partnership between SGInnovate and United Overseas Bank
(UOB)
, is a business accelerator formed to propel technology
companies and catalyse the digital transformation of businesses.

The FinLab’s programme presents the
selected Singaporean travel agencies the opportunity to not only connect to The
Finlab’s ecosystem of associates to
transform their business digitally but
also enables them to use what they have learned
to improve their business’ performance, enhance consumer experiences and seize
business opportunities present in the digital economy.

Ms Ong Ling Lee, Director at Travel Agents and Tourist Guides, STB
stated that their collaboration with The FinLab is one of several initiatives
created to support travel agencies and help them grown and transform their
businesses in an increasingly competitive tourism market. “We hope that with
the practical guidance provided by this acceleration programme, travel agents
will be encouraged to take the first step towards achieving their growth
ambitions”, Ms Lee added.

The acceleration programme, which is
scheduled to last for three months, began on Monday, 11 June 2018. Four travel
agencies were selected to participate in the programme. The programme’s
curriculum is structured to enable these travel agencies to identify the areas
that hinder business growth. It will also help agencies understand how to resolve
these issues through technology and employ digital solutions best-suited to their
requirements.

Over the course of the programme, these
agencies will be provided with the expertise, resources and hands-on guidance offered
by The FinLab and its network of industry specialists, mentors and technology front-runners. To order to deliver an even more sophisticated and well-rounded service, the
travel agencies will be introduced to solution providers, principally experts
in the fields of data analytics and digital marketing. These specialists will
then help the travel agencies identify and pilot the most suitable and
inventive solutions to their concerns.

The collaborative programme is scheduled to
end some time in August 2018.