Tourism sector aims for long term goal – recovery, Transport News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – Ride around town in a vintage Vespa sidecar; yacht trips to the pristine sands and relative calm of Lazare Island; and walking tours of under the radar neighborhoods such as Balestier and Jalan Besar.

Before Covid-19, these activities were rarely on the radar of leisure tourists, many of whom stopped in Singapore on a whirlwind two to three day route en route to Australia or other parts of Asia. from the South East.

But tourism players believe the past 18 months of developing new tours, hotel packages and promotions for a demanding local market have bolstered Singapore’s value proposition as the country opens up to more international visitors as part of the process. of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program.

The VTL program, launched in September and expanded this month, allows visitors from 11 countries, including Britain and the United States, to travel without quarantine.

The first wave of VTL travelers arriving last week were mostly long-term residents here or people visiting family and friends. Still, industry players are hopeful that more leisure travelers will arrive in the coming months and intend to court them.

The country must continue to invest in tourism infrastructure such as accommodation, attractions, recreation and entertainment venues, said Professor Abhishek Bhati, campus dean of James Cook University in Singapore, who specializes in tourism research.

One such site is the future Mandai Wildlife Reserve, which will house a total of five animal parks, including the Singapore Zoo and River Wonders, with the River Safari having been renamed. It will also include a new bird park called Bird Paradise and a new Rainforest Wild park.

Although development has been hampered by the pandemic, park operator Mandai Wildlife Group said it aims to open the new attractions by 2022 and 2024 respectively.

Despite the pandemic halving the number of visitors, existing attractions such as Gardens by the Bay have continued to roll out new exhibits, such as the current Tulipmania, which also showcases Asian culture and architecture. central.

Business Development Director Ong Kian Ann said, “Even when overseas travel stalled, Gardens by the Bay continued with a series of iconic events and popular flower shows to serve the community. local. We believe that our approach of making gardens an attractive destination for all will now serve us well for VTL travelers. “

Hotel groups are also planning the long haul with new brands which should open next year.

Among them, the Pullman Singapore Orchard and the Raffles Sentosa Resort and Spa Singapore, operated by the Accor hotel group.

More immediately, hotels are rolling out promotions to appeal to VTL customers. Fullerton Hotel Singapore and Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore launched a “Fullerton Hospitality Experience” package last month that includes a $ 50 meal credit and limousine transfer for guests staying three nights or more.

Meanwhile, PPHG’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Ms. Cinn Tan, said the group plans to roll out VTL and country-specific promotions in the coming months.

So while the road to recovery will be long, companies in the tourism industry believe better days are ahead.

Some, like the founder of the Indie Singapore walking tour company, Mr. Toh Thiam Wei, have already seen positive signs.

Mr Toh has had “a handful” of bookings from VTL travelers from Germany visiting family here, with about half of them booking new tours developed for the local market. These include a “Traditional Taste” food tour in Chinatown where participants can taste local food.

Mr. Steven Ler, President of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore, said: “There has been a lot of creativity and product innovation in the tourism industry. It is valuable content for us to market Singapore overseas and can be easily deployed to appeal to tourists. . “

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