Singaporeans to get $320m in SingapoRediscovers vouchers- what can you expect?

Singaporeans can look forward to S$320 million in SingapoRediscovers vouchers from September, in a bid to boost domestic tourism.

The relative absence of a domestic market means that tourism in Singapore has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just 2,200 people visited in June 2020, down from 1.6 million the year before. Tourism receipts fell 39% year-on-year to S$4 billion in the first quarter of 2020, and that’s not even taking into account April and May where things got really bad. 

Announcement of SingapoRediscovers vouchers
Announcement of SingapoRediscovers vouchers

In light of this, DPM Heng Swee Keat announced yesterday that Singaporeans would receive S$320 million in tourism credits, known as SingapoRediscovers Vouchers. These are meant to encourage Singaporeans to explore Singapore’s local culture, heritage, nature, art and architecture. 

More details will be provided by the MTI in September, but here’s some educated guesses as to what we can expect. 

How much SingapoRediscovers Vouchers will each person get?

According to SingStat, there are ~3.5 million Singapore citizens as of 2019. A quick and dirty measure would be to take the S$320M divided by this population, which yields ~S$91 per person.

However, I think it’s more likely that the vouchers will only be issued to those above a certain age. If we take the 21 years cutoff used for the Solidarity Payment, we’ll have ~2.65 million Singapore citizens, or ~S$120 per person. 

How will the vouchers work?

Most recent Milelion drinks meetup

I’ve heard some people suggest that to encourage spending, the vouchers will come with some sort of minimum spend attached.

No chance, really. Leaving aside how difficult it’d be to calibrate that (how would you decide the threshold for each attraction?), such a system would be downright elitist. A well-to-do individual may think nothing of spending a minimum of S$300 to save S$120, but that might be out of reach for someone financially worse off.

At the end of the day, these vouchers are meant to benefit all Singaporeans, not just those with the ability to spend more. Sure, the intention is to achieve a multiplier effect, but that will come naturally from ancillary spending (e.g people going to Sentosa to use their vouchers and buying F&B/souvenirs).

What I think we’ll see is something like the ActiveSG system, where credits will be linked to one’s NRIC, and can be spent at approved tourist attractions. 

Where can the SingapoRediscovers vouchers be used?

singaporediscovers

Since this initiative is meant to supplement the existing S$45 million SingapoRediscovers campaign launched in July, it’s a safe bet that any attraction or tour featured on the site would be a potential merchant. 

All the usual suspects are here, such as the ArtScience Museum, Gardens by the Bay, and Universal Studios. However, it’s good to see some lesser-known (at least to me) attractions and tours by smaller operators featured too. 

Expedia, Klook and Trip.com are all involved in the SingapoRediscovers campaign too, so it’s possible these vouchers may be usable on their platforms for selected local attractions. 

Can SingapoRediscovers Vouchers be used on staycations?

Pan Pacific Singapore
Pan Pacific Singapore

Again, no official word here, but I’d be surprised if this were the case. 

Hotels have arguably received their fair share of government support already through the SHN program, and anecdotal evidence suggests they’re doing pretty well with staycations too. I think other sectors might have some choice words to say if they saw the hotel industry capturing most of this largesse. 

Moreover, I think the ideal outcome here would be for people to spend their credits over multiple visits- one trip to the zoo and one to Fort Siloso would generate twice the opportunities for ancillary spending. A staycation would likely result in all the credits being used at once (well, unless you went to a Hotel 81), and again, the idea is to have people out and spending, instead of camping in a room playing Monopoly Deal. 

We’ll see what happens, but don’t get your hopes up. 

Conclusion

While these vouchers are something to look forward to, STB’s chief executive has already positioned the SingapoRediscovers initiative as a matter of damage control more than anything else: 

“We do not expect domestic consumption to fill the hole left by the diminution of national travel… What we’re hoping to do is to cushion the impact so that there is no catastrophic job loss or massive retrenchments that would maybe destabilise not just the economy, but destabilise Singaporeans’ sense of well-being, sense of hope and confidence in the Singapore economy.”

The hard truth is that local tourism can’t hope to plug the S$27.7 billion hole left behind by the absence of international travellers. That said, every little bit helps, and I hope to explore and write about some local attractions in the months ahead (starting with this tour of Changi Airport).

What are your predictions for the SingapoRediscovers vouchers?

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

Similar Articles

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
10 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bent

Funny how they are encouraging all of us to be out exploring – how to social distance? On the contrary, staycations at least help to minimize ones exposure to crowds.

Guest

Agreed to Aaron! Safe management will still strictly apply, while we could responsibly enjoy the given vouchers. The intention is to boost local demand and help local businesses to survive and save thousands of jobs. I would think it should take reference from Taiwan’s Triple Stimulus Vouchers – spend TWD3000 and get TWD2000 in ‘return’.

June

They’re working for many people rice bowl, their income had been heavily impacted, without support from government, how can they survive ?

Social distance rules are still out there. Visiting local place should not be a big problem. Look at the shopping malls nowadays. Don’t complain everything..

Meterfar

Let’s not confuse “safe distance” with “isolation”, they are quite different, and Singapore has long been in a phase to restart the economy. Work and play safely in the new normal.

Jimmy

I will glad to see if those vouchers will still have the “encourage to spend more” portion for people that still can afford it. Maybe can have 2 parts of the vouchers, whereby first part is about basic part of the experience, eg entrance fees into the attractions or enrolment fees into a tour package, whereby the fees could be totally offset through the vouchers, and second part being some sort of discounted nature, something like X% of the “enhanced” or “complementary” part of the experience, like f&b, souveniers, personalised merchanised, fees on extra stuff etc.

Adam

forget about the zoo. i bought the family annual pass due to $55 bucks discount in July. BUT, you can’t book any slots in the weekends to the zoo, river safari or night safari within one or two months, extremely angry.
the vouchers will make situation even worse.

Guest

entrance to casino for free, bet 1 get 1 free.

Qanon

Can you imagine the global outcry if this kind of scheme was implemented in the west, somewhere like the US or UK. There are millions of tax paying residents here who aren’t citizens but yet again are tossed aside by the government.

Guest

Be fairer to at least include any PR’s who’ve done NS as well. But they don’t get to vote.

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

Advertisment

Featured Deals

Advertisment

Follow us

6,090FansLike
2,641FollowersFollow

RECENT COMMENTS

TAGS