Business events top list in Singapore recovery plan

SINGAPORE’S travel industry is getting a S$500 million boost in a recovery drive that places new unique attractions, events with sustainability and business tourism to the top of the list.

Alvin Tan, minister for trade and industry, revealed some of the details in an address to the Tourism Industry Conference. The support package is worth about US$367.5 million.

Tan said that the Singapore government acknowledged a full recovery of international travel might take a few years, but the country needed to speed up the recovery of its tourism sector in the immediate term, he was quoted by the Straits Times as saying.

Keith Tan, chief executive of Singapore Tourism Board, which organised the conference, said the focus would be on showing how unique the city state was compared to other destinations with special emphasis on creating attractions and events with sustainability, and business tourism, which includes conferences and exhibitions.

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Singapore recently opened its borders on April 1 to fully vaccinated travellers without requiring Covid-19 testing or quarantine on arrival. There are also no quotas on the number of daily arrivals.

Tan told the conference that Singapore Tourism Board was seeking to make the city a location of “best in class” MICE events by attracting delegates from Asia Pacific, Europe and the United States.

He said international buyers told the tourism board that the past two years have shown that video-conference platforms such as Zoom were no replacement for live in-person events. There was a need to rebuild business connections with real face-to-face interactions, the newspaper reported Tan as saying.

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In a separate announcement, the chief executive of Qantas Airways’ budget carrier Jetstar said the airline was hearted by Singapore’s lifting of Covid border restrictions.

“The easing of Singapore’s border measures, including the removal of VTLs [vaccinated traveller lanes] and on-arrival testing for vaccinated travellers, will ensure overseas travel is more convenient, helping to restore customer confidence and boost international travel demand,” Bara Pasupathi said in a press statement.

“This marks an important milestone in the recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors in Singapore,” the Jetstar CEO said.

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