Singapore Tourism Board unveils SG$45m marketing plan for domestic tourism

Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Sentosa Development Corporation and Enterprise Singapore have rolled out the SingapoRediscovers campaign, setting aside SG$45 million for its supporting marketing initiatives. The latest campaign, which is also the largest campaign introduced in Singapore to drive local demand, supports local lifestyle and tourism business and encourages Singaporeans and residents to explore different sides of Singapore. According to STB marketing chief, Lynette Pang, the campaign targets two main types of consumers - the urban explorers who are out frequently and those who enjoy travelling overseas.

STB's chief executive Keith Tan added that in 2018 Singaporeans spent SG$34 billion on travel alone, and with this new campaign, STB hopes to have a fraction of that spend here in Singapore since the future of overseas travel remains uncertain.He added that this SG$45m is not redirected from the tourism body's initial spend allocated to marketing in overseas countries. While STB will "not spend as much" in the conventional markets it normally does, it will maintain some of its international market so the nation "doesn’t lose brand equity" in minds of travellers. 

Other key channel partners for this nine-month campaign are Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Singapore Airlines (SIA), both of which have teamed up with STB on joint marketing campaigns to drive awareness of local brands. CAG will expand its portfolio of local brands on iShopChangi from next month, while SIA will soon offer Design Orchard brands on KrisShop. Trip.com Group, a key partner that STB is working closely with, also recently organised a live webcast for locals, promoting flexible hotel reservations at discounted rates. It will work with STB on other initiatives for overseas visitors later. To encourage bookings for hotels, attractions and tours, STB and Expedia are embarking on a global marketing partnership.

These offers will be for locals first, and will eventually be extended to overseas visitors and include flight promotions. STB is also partnering Klook to create engaging content, and develop new and interesting products and promotions for locals. Both partnerships kick off in September. SingapoRediscovers will also be supported by other existing initiatives to drive local demand for businesses, including the Marketing Partnership Programme and the SG Stories Content Fund.

The campaign will ramp up progressively over the next few months, with more experiences and content to be announced over the next few months. Businesses are also encouraged to come on board and collaborate for a steady pipeline of promotions and products to attract consumers. It aims to help Singaporeans rediscover local secrets, family time and culture and heritage. The recent Circuit Breaker has led to a greater emphasis on relationships and there is a desire to make time with family and friends count, STB said during a recent press conference. Locals also desire to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of Singapore's culture and heritage. STB is also partnering with Singapore Retail Association to roll out eGSS, where the annual retail sale of Singapore will take on a "phygital" format.

SingapoRediscovers stems from the work of the Tourism Recovery Action Taskforce launched in February, and is also the first since Step Out Singapore after SARS in 2003, and Building on Opportunities to Strengthen Tourism in 2009 after the global financial crisis. It focuses on three broad areas:

1. Partnering local communities to help locals discover hidden gems

SingapoRediscover will tap on the expertise of community groups and interest groups. They will help develop content around three themes - rediscover local secrets, rediscover family time, and rediscover culture.

For instance, photographers such as Chia Aik Beng will be the campaign’s lead curator for the photography community, while Mindy Tan and Yafiq Yusman will spearhead a ground-up movement to capture the familiar sights of Singapore through a fresh lens, using the hashtag #SingapoRediscovers. Locals are also encouraged to use the same hashtag for their content.

2. Curating precinct itineraries to create authentic experiences for locals

Locals can also rediscover the heartlands through curated tours conducted by the Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore, Heartland Enterprise Centre Singapore and the Society of Tourist Guides (Singapore), which will offer new experiences through local favourites or new sights through undiscovered trails.

This will be complemented by a Jalan Jalan: Your Good Hoods Guide initiative, to promote local neighbourhoods through guidebooks, with curated gastronomic, shopping, entertainment, and arts destinations that allow locals to experience a new side of their familiar neighbourhoods.

Sentosa has also teamed up with its Island Partners to curate attractively-priced Singapoliday staycation packages featuring itineraries themed around Island Life, Heritage Discovery, Wellness Escape, and Nature Adventure.

The packages will be rolled out from the end of this month. Locals will also be able to discover a different side of Sentosa through unique back-of-house tours that showcase Sentosa’s island charm. To be launched in the coming months, these tours will offer guests insights into the workings of Sentosa’s attractions, learn about the stories behind the island’s flora and fauna, or partake in masterclasses, among other experiences. Sentosa’s island admission.

3. Developing quality experiences and attractive promotions

The campaign will collaborate with hotels, tour operators, attractions and precincts to develop quality experiences and attractive promotions. Precincts will be packaged as mini-holiday destinations, where locals can embark on Singapoliday to enjoy the many experiences and promotions within.

To encourage more local support, the campaign features value-for-money promotions and quality experiences across various sectors and partners.

Businesses and associations such as the Singapore Retailers Association, Singapore Hotel Association, Association of Singapore Attractions and Chinatown Business Association will rally members to collaborate on marketing and promotions.

The offers will be housed on the VisitSingapore app and the newly-launched SingapoRediscovers microsite. Around 40 businesses have come on board to offer some 80 promotions, including attractions, tours, and hotel stays. These include cross-sector tie-ups between hotels and tour operators such as lyf Funan Singapore with Tribe Tours and Fullerton Hotel with Singapore Sidecars, as well as attractions and F&B/retail vouchers and products available in the National Day Parade (NDP) Singapore Together Pack. The NDP Singapore Together Pack will also include two years’ Sentosa Islander membership for the price of one, and a Sentosa Fun Pass loaded with 20 free tokens which can be used to redeem various offerings on the island

Consumers can also attend upcoming virtual events such as the Singapore Food Festival in August, the eGSS: Shop.Win.Experience in September, and Singapoliday offers from Q4 2020. Starting from August, various F&B campaigns and promotions will be launched to drive footfall and attract more diners to outlets in different parts of the island. Industry partners, including the Restaurant Association of Singapore, Singapore Cocktail Bar Association and #savefnbsg, will embark on a nationwide campaign #Hi5SG to restore the gastronomic scene and support local communities.

Under the campaign, participating merchants will offer special perks and privileges linked to the number "five", a play on the five-pax dining rule, for either dine-in or delivery islandwide. They will match SG$1 donations given by customers which will go to =DREAMS, a programme for underprivileged children. In addition, Enterprise Singapore has partnered Chope to run targeted campaigns including driving off-peak deals, for local F&B outlets over the next few months. More offers and promotions will be available in the next few months.

Tan said through this campaign, it hopes that Singaporeans will gain fresh perspectives, and take a short holiday – or a Singapoliday – to rediscover their own country and help support local businesses.

Meanwhile, Enterprise Singapore's deputy CEO Ted Tan said aside from the targeted measures rolled out earlier to help the F&B and retail sectors address immediate needs, it hopes that they can create new revenue streams and encourage increased consumer spending through exciting promotional programmes. 

Sentosa's CEO also added that it has been heartened by the good base of locals who have been showing their support to businesses in Sentosa. "Through SingapoRediscovers, we will build on our island charm and unique value proposition to encourage locals to rediscover Sentosa, while helping businesses rebound from the effects of the pandemic," she said.

Building a niche tourism market

In a tourism recovery dialogue with STB's Tan, Minister for Trade and Industry (MTI) Chan Chun Sing said Singapore has a significant domestic market that is searching for new experiences. In 2018, Singaporeans spent more than SG$34 billion on overseas travel, but the tourism receipts for Singapore during that same year were SG$27 billion.

"We will not be able to translate all overseas spending into domestic spending. But even then, if we are able to capture a slice of what we used to spend overseas, it will be a significant boost to our local tourism industry," he added. Hence, the launch of the SingapoRediscovers campaign. When asked how businesses that have traditionally marketed to foreigners can attract locals, Chan said the easiest way is to ask ourselves if the activities would attract us.

"If we ourselves are not interested in doing what we offer, then nobody will be interested. If the offering passes the test of our family members and children, chances are we have a good set of offering," he added. According to Chan, this is also an opportunity for Singapore to build on its reputation as a safe and trusted hub, and find ways to assure both locals and overseas guests of the country's high health standards.

While MTI's immediate priority is to save as many jobs as possible, Chan said the medium term priority is to redesign Singapore's tourism products and have events to attract niche market business travellers. This is currently in the works with STB's safe business event risk management framework which was launched earlier today.

Chan also added that it is no longer sufficient for businesses to have a product that is relevant for when tourists are in Singapore. Instead, businesses need to develop an end-to-end suite of services, also known as before, during and after sales service. Chan elaborated that consumers who are able to resume travel, they will need to be engaged prior to their travel itinerary. Thereafter, systems need to be put in place when they are in Singapore to ensure they are able to move around safely. When they return home, the industry also has to think about how after sales service can be offered, he added.

In the long term, Chan said global tourism will progressively recover and Singapore aims to target a higher niche market product that will offer even more unique experiences to tourists and locals. To do so, it rolled out an RFP in 2016 for the integrated tourism development in Jurong Lake District which will feature large scale attractions that compliment the Singapore Science Centre and the Jurong Lake Gardens. Additionally, the government is also redeveloping the Singapore racecourse at Kranji, which lies between Sungei Buloh and Mandai Nature Precinct. 

"If we can develop that as a seamless integrated plan, we will have an entirely new touristy proposition for both locals and foreigners to see other parts of Singapore that are away from the current tourist attractions. This will make us a more well-rounded tourist destination for young individuals, families and even for the older folks," he added.