Instead of waiting for world borders to reopen, Singapore must disrupt the status quo. For the tourism industry, the next big steps are in sustainable travel solutions, technological innovation and holistic wellbeing.

This was highlighted by speakers at the opening of the Tourism Industry Conference yesterday.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the tourism sector was already facing disruption before the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, apps replaced tour guides, maps and travel agencies, and virtual or augmented reality enabled people to enjoy immersive experiences without leaving their homes.

The challenge is how Singapore will prepare for the long-term future, Chan said.

Sustainable tourism offers growth opportunities, especially when tourists become more aware of the environment.

The government will pump $ 68.5 million into the tourism development fund that companies can use to explore new areas, including sustainability.

“Singapore may not be able to compete directly with other eco-destinations in terms of abundance of land and natural landscapes,” admitted Chan.

However, the progressive and transparent regulatory environment and strong intellectual property protection of the republic make it an attractive place for companies looking to put sustainable tourism products and experiences to the test.

Another strength is the vibrant public and private ecosystem that enables businesses and workers to effectively partner to expand their skills, Chan said.

Keith Tan, CEO of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said Singapore could find another niche in being a leading urban spa haven, where spa and beauty offerings and experiences are readily available in a busy modern city.

“Covid-19 has made wellness a top priority for all of us,” he said, adding that a growing middle class will pay a premium for offers that improve their wellbeing.

Some players in the industry are already moving in this direction. For example, Grand Hyatt Singapore has partnered with local activewear brand Kydra to launch a Recharge Retreat Staycation package that offers a one night stay with benefits such as activewear, body treatment in a spa and a meditation session.

  • $ 68.5 million

    Amount that the government will pump into the tourism development fund that companies can use to explore new areas, including sustainability.

Mr. Chan said the tourism sector should also use the technology to create a unique experience for tourists and local residents.

He said: “In a world where visitors are not bound by physical limits, travel is no longer just about meeting or sightseeing, but about the unique set of experiences that visitors have from before they arrive to after they leave Offer.”

One example is how tour operators have developed innovative experiences like the Niu Che Shui murders launched by Tribe Tours. On this gamified hybrid tour, participants solve a series of Chinatown puzzles.

In order to support the players in the industry in their digital transformation, STB yesterday launched its innovation platform Tourism Technology Transformation Cube. This provides resources for learning digital skills such as data analysis and advisory services for tourism companies looking to refine their digital strategies. The participants can also get advice from mentors from the industry through events and lectures.

Mr. Chan said the challenge for Singapore is preparing for long-term success and reinventing global travel.

“We’re not waiting for a full reopening. Singapore stands ready to disrupt the status quo, transform our products and services, and leverage our capabilities to capture the next kind of growth.”

Read More Now