Singapore aims to open its door to more business and leisure tourists

By TIN Media | Singapore News Published 1 month ago on 6 August 2020
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According to the head of the country 's tourism agency, Singapore needs to open the doors to more business and leisure tourists in order to improve its hit tourism market, as the return of mass travel is still very far behind after the pandemic.

Keith Tan, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Tourism Board, said on Tuesday, in an interview with Bloomberg Television's Haslinda Amin, that the industry expects more job losses as current government funding for rent, taxes and wages begins to taper. Job losses have so far been in the "very low thousands" market, he said.

“Whether it is a broader range of business visitors or, for example, small groups of tightly controlled leisure visitors, all these are being considered and are on the table,” said Tan. He added the tourism board is discussing with the government to expand green lane arrangements, now in place with Malaysia and China, to a broader range of visitors.

Singapore's travel-related sectors, which contribute about 4% of its gross domestic product, is grappling with what could be the city-state's worst recession wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

In May of last year, retail sales plummeted by more than 50%, with outlets that were especially hard hit for tourists in areas such as Orchard Lane.

The borders of the country remain closed to international arrivals. In June there were 2 200 visits and in the same month last year there were 1.6 million visits. The travel arrangements for green lanes currently require only corporate and official travel.

The government has launched a domestic voyage campaign to help the industry, but local demand will not fill the hole left by international tourists, Tan said. Tan said. Last year, these travelers charged nearly $28 billion in tourism receipts.

“It will be a long while more before mass travel can resume and that ultimately stems from consumer confidence,” said the tourism chief, who added a vaccine or effective therapies are needed to combat the “fear and anxiety” many people have, even about stepping onto an airplane.

According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development last month, the industry is predicted to lose $3.3 trillion worldwide if global leisure travel collapses.


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