STB finds more ways to capture the Malaysian ringgit

In a bid to win the hearts of Malaysian travellers, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is offering financial support to business travels whilst promoting the island to be a child-friendly zone.

STB has created a new programme called M&I STARS that rewards cash credit to travel agents who are making arrangements for groups of 20 staying for at least two nights. It also has a separate incentive scheme called M&I-Rewards which also has complimentary visits to attractions such as SEA Aquarium, Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore River Cruise.

There is also a new programme called SingaporeJunior, which is a web series, being launched to lure in families. This is an education programme with visits to pre-schools in Klang Valley and East Malaysia to highlight learning experiences at attractions such as the River Safari and Singapore Zoo.

This is not the first initiative by STB to capture the Malaysian ringgit from families. In October it created an “Explorer’s Playground”, a showcase of Singapore’s family enrichment offerings catered to families who seek more rewarding holidays with their kids. Held at The Curve shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, families experienced fun learning experiences put together by some of Singapore’s popular attractions and learn about exciting enrichment previews on offer.

STB Southeast Asia executive director Edward Koh said the tourism body was looking to target the business and family travelers as the average business traveller spends 50% more than leisure tourists. Koh added that it is also more advantageous to target larger family groups instead of solo visitors.

Meanwhile, according to an ST article, business event organisers in Singapore can also apply for grants to offset third-party costs such as marketing, content development and other professional services.

Malaysia is Singapore's third-largest sources of tourists. However with the depreciation of the ringgit, the number of visitors last year slipped and the overall tourist receipts for Singapore declined for the first time last year since 2009, falling by 6.8% SG$22 billion.

Meanwhile Malaysian spending in Singapore also saw a dip to SG$637 million.  Indonesian and Chinese tourists remain Singapore's top two visitors by numbers.

Also in October last year, STB launched a new campaign in Malaysia called “Your Best Weekend Yet” to encourage Malaysians to visit Singapore over weekends and holiday periods throughout the year. STB had then said that most Malaysians visit Singapore either to spend time with friends and family. To make the weekend and holiday getaways to Singapore more enticing, STB together with Singapore Airlines and a few popular attraction partners such as Genting Hotel Jurong, Sentosa and Gardens by the Bay were offering great travel deals just for Malaysians that included flights, accommodation and entrance tickets to attractions and more.