Cruise passenger traffic in Singapore has fallen by 52% year-on-year, according to Channel NewsAsia which cited Singapore Tourism Board (STB). The article added that STB has received 81 cancelled ship calls regarding COVID-19 since the outbreak started in 23 January. STB has also reportedly pledged to give the cruise industry more support. Marketing has reached out to STB for additional information.
Last week, STB said in a joint statement with the Maritime Port Authority and Ministry of Health that cruise ship Costa Fortuna was allowed to make a scheduled call at Singapore. This came after multiple media outlets including New Straits Times and CNA said it was turned away by Malaysia and Thailand authorities.
According to the joint statement, precautionary measures were taken and the ship declared that none of the passengers exhibit any signs of fever or respiratory illness after being checked by the ship doctor. In addition, passengers were subjected to thermal and visual screenings by MOH-licensed healthcare providers upon disembarkation.
The cruise industry has taken a hit since the outbreak. This was especially after the Diamond Princess cruise saw an COVID-19 outbreak on board and the company had to quarantine all its passengers. Recently, Princess Cruises also paused its global operations for two months, impacting voyages departing from 12 March to 10 May.
Separately, STB said earlier this year that it will waive licence fees for hotels, travel agents and tourist guides, and defray enhanced cleaning costs of hotels that provided accommodation to confirmed and suspected cases of the Wuhan coronavirus infections. STB will cover up to 50% of third-party professional cleaning fees, capped at SG$20,000 per establishment for hotels with confirmed cases; and SG$10,000 per establishment for hotels with suspected cases.
STB's director, communications and marketing capability, Terrence Voon told Marketing previously that Chinese tourists account for about 20% of its total international visitor arrivals, with about 3.6 million visitors to Singapore in 2019. As such, it expects the measures to have a significant and immediate impact on the tourism industry.
"But the situation is expected to persist, and we need to prepare for all scenarios in order to support tourism businesses and workers. We are working out the appropriate measures to help them, and to ensure that Singapore is on the right track to recover swiftly from this," Voon added then.