Singapore’s tourism industry gets $320 million boost

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Singaporeans will be given $320 million in “tourism credits” to spend domestically as part of a campaign to prop up local businesses, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Monday.

The credits will be called SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, named as part of the $45 million campaign launched last month to drive local spending at Singapore’s eateries, shops, hotels and leisure attractions, Straits Times has reported.

Heng, who is also Finance Minister, noted in his ministerial statement that foreign visitor arrivals have dried up due to travel restrictions. “Many Singaporeans love to travel but are unable to do so now. Local consumption will not fully make up for tourist spending, but I hope Singaporeans will take the opportunity to explore our local culture and heritage, nature, art, and architecture,” he said, adding that more details on the vouchers will be released next month.

The Jobs Support Scheme, which pays part of the wages for local workers, will be set at 50% for the hard hit aviation and tourism sector for the next seven months. More targeted help may also be on the way for businesses in the arts and culture and sports sectors, which will also take much longer to resume full activities, Heng said.

“These are important sectors that strengthen our social fabric and diversity… I am prepared to provide further support to preserve core capabilities that we have built over the years, in consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.”

Heng noted that a small number of businesses, such as those in the nightlife industry, may not be able to open any time soon due to safe management considerations.