Tourism destination? Singapore’s plans to achieve this

Tourism destination? Singapore’s plans to achieve this

While Singapore will face challenges as it tries to become a sustainable tourism destination, industry players and experts are confident that it can meet such a target.

Mr. Christopher Khoo, the managing director for international tourism consultancy Master Consult Services, said the move would be the “responsible” thing to do.

“I applaud Singapore’s decision to embrace this whole concept of sustainability in tourism, because that’s I think not only the right way to go, it is the responsible thing to do,” he said.

The move is one of the 2030 targets under the green economy – one of the five key pillars in the Singapore Green Plan unveiled earlier this year.

“Ten years from now, we also expect that global tourism will have sprung back into a more vibrant sector.

Tourists will have a greater interest in sustainable travel options, for example, eco-friendly hotels and attractions,” said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.

“To prepare ourselves for these opportunities, we are transforming Sentosa into a carbon-neutral destination by 2030. Through such efforts, we will strengthen Singapore as an exemplary sustainable tourism destination,” he said.

Said Mr. Khoo: “On the whole, sustainable tourism is something that is becoming increasingly important. In tourism, it’s not something new … Sustainability has become more and more important, people are recognizing the need to be responsible.”

Plans to become Singapore into a tourism destination

According to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), there were also 19.1 million visitors to Singapore in 2019, with these visitors spending a total of S$27.1 billion in tourism receipts.

As defined by the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), sustainable tourism should incorporate three main objectives.

These include making “optimal use” of environmental resources as well as helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity. In addition, this form of tourism should also respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, said UNTWO on its website.

It also needs to ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are “fairly distributed”.

Noting that achieving sustainable tourism is a “continuous process”, tourism expert Shirley Tee said that such a destination should also include “curated meaningful experiences” that allow a tourist to understand and be aware of sustainability issues within the community, as well as incorporate activities that promote the destination country’s economy

“Efforts to protect and preserve our economic real estate can also be tied in with our journey towards being a sustainable tourism destination. For instance, ensuring that built-up areas with older buildings and our unique heritage be retained and not discarded due to economic pressure will help us preserve the social and urban fabric of the nation,” added Ms. Tee, who is a senior manager at Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) School of Business Management. 

“This also creates additional sustainable tourism avenues for tourists to visit, and learn more about.”

Source: Channel News Asia

TraceTogether app will be upgraded for tourists

TraceTogether app will be upgraded for tourists

Contact tracing app TraceTogether will be upgraded by next month to allow tourists to do SafeEntry check-ins at shopping malls and dining venues as Singapore gets ready to move to phase three of its reopening. –

The app, which is mandatory for overseas visitors, will come with a new feature to record and validate their passport numbers during app registration. Validation will be instant by checking against the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s database.

“Just as we need to validate users’ NRIC (during app sign-up), we need to check that the visitor has entered a valid passport number and that he has indeed entered Singapore,” a spokesman for the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office said.

With this addition, tourists will be able to scan the SafeEntry QR code using their TraceTogether app. By the end of the year, this will be the only way for them to enter most premises.

The TraceTogether app so far for the tourists?

In the absence of the QR code scanner, tourists have been asked to show their passports and the TraceTogether app on their phones. Venue operators also need to manually enter passport details in a computer or a mobile device running the SafeEntry (Business) application to record the visit.

Tourists have also been able to use their mobile phone camera to scan the SafeEntry QR code to fill up a Web form to enter malls, restaurants, and cinemas.

But the Webform will be phased out when Singapore switches to a new Covid-19 management tool, TraceTogether only SafeEntry, for mandatory digital contact tracing.

Similarly, Singaporeans and permanent residents will not be able to use their SingPass mobile app to scan the SafeEntry QR code to enter places. And venue operators will not scan barcodes on NRICs to allow people entry.

The nationwide switchover is slated to start at the end of the year to allow Singapore to host more travelers, business activities, and social gatherings.

TraceTogether only SafeEntry combines what are now two separate systems: TraceTogether, to identify those in close contact with Covid-19 patients; and SafeEntry – which digitally checks in visitors at most venues – to determine which premises have been visited by those infected with the coronavirus.

Singapore Downtown District poeple wearing protective masks for Covid-19, CoronaVirus

South-East Asian countries yearn to revive tourism

While some South-East Asian countries have gradually reopened their borders to foreign travelers, many feel that the region’s tourism industry has a way to go before it dispels the gloom brought by the COVID-19 pandemic on “a bumpy road” to recovery.

As part of encouraging moves in the region, Singapore is lifting border restrictions for visitors from the Chinese mainland from Friday, the city state’s authorities announced late last week. Visitors must take a Covid-19 test upon arrival and will not need to quarantine if they record a negative result.

Singapore’s move comes on the heels of Thailand welcoming the first batch of Chinese tourists under a special tourist visa program in late October. They were the first foreign arrivals in the tourism-reliant country in seven months.

The visa program was devised by the Thai authorities to restore, incrementally, a sector that by some estimates accounts for more than 10 percent of the country’s GDP, with almost 40 million visitors last year.

In South-East Asia, Thailand is far from alone in having its tourism industry ravaged by the pandemic.

In Indonesia, the number of foreign visitors plunged more than 70 percent from January to September compared with the same period last year.

A strategy of gradual reopening to foreign visitors is a good start for countries in South-East Asia, and China stands out as a target source market for tourists with its record on coronavirus control, said Xu Liping, director of Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

South-East Asia boost cooperation

Thailand was one of the top overseas destinations for Chinese tourists last year, accounting for by far the largest number of visitors by nationality. Some 11 million Chinese visitors put about US$17 billion into the economy.

In a bid to lift its tourism industry out of the doldrums, Thailand plans further moves to open up.

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said the first phase of reopening will be limited to 1,200 people, a far cry from a monthly figure of around 3 million before the pandemic. A full revival of tourism in South-East Asian nations is some way off, Xu said. “South-East Asia’s tourism sector is still facing a bumpy road ahead. It all depends on the situation with the epidemic,” he said.