The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) strikes again, this time in arms with popular artificial reality (AR) mobile game, Pokémon GO. Teaming up with its creator, American AR technology company Niantic, STB has transformed 300 tourism establishments and lifestyle offerings into PokéStops and Gyms. These places include hotels, attractions, retailers, food and beverage establishments as well as at tour ticketing booths in its recently-unveiled 10 precincts.
The collaboration is part of the ongoing SingapoRediscovers campaign to support local businesses. When players arrive at these PokéStops and Gyms on Pokémon GO, they will see an in-app banner promoting the campaign. Tapping on the banner brings players to the campaign microsite, which displays the ongoing SingapoRediscovers promotions available at tourism and lifestyle establishments. The Pokémon GO game encourages people to walk around and discover new things in their surroundings, which will enable the discovery of local businesses and precinct exploration.
Besides setting up PokéStops and Gyms, STB is also planning to schedule special Raid Battles in some areas. Raid Battles occur when a "boss Pokémon" takes over a Gym. Players would then have to band together to defeat the Pokémon, and will be rewarded with special items and a chance of catching the Pokémon if they are successful. STB will be rolling out more information through its Facebook and Instagram pages in the coming weeks.
Lim Shoo Ling, STB’s brand director, said the collaboration with Niantic allows the Board to connect with the community of Pokémon GO players in a fun and innovative way. "As they pursue their favorite Pokémon across Singapore, we hope players will explore our precincts, discover hidden gems, and support local businesses – while staying safe and observing the necessary precautions," she added.
Gary Chang, APAC business development lead, Niantic, said the company hopes to utilise the platform to encourage people to explore different parts of Singapore and boost domestic travel needs.
The collaboration with Niantic is STB's latest initiative to get Singaporeans to take explore the country and boost its tourism industry. Since the launch of SingapoRediscovers in July, over 100 businesses – from hotels, attractions and tour operators to retail and food and beverage establishments – have offered more than 600 promotions, inclusive of the Singapoliday bundled promotions. The SingapoRediscovers campaign has also been extended from March 2021 to June 2021. Some of the brands STB has worked with since to boost the tourism industry are Sentosa, Mastercard, Klook, Visa, DBS, and Expedia.
STB has also placed focus on investing in AR tech. Poh Chi Chuan, chief technology officer at STB, said the board has decided to focus on AR as it is an accessible technology that it believes will be the mainstream in the next couple of years. "AR experiences are mobile-led, and do not require much hardware investments, thus leading to the ease of adoption from the consumers' perspective," he added. STB's first objective is to enhance its "Tourism Information and Services Hub" to be AR-compatible. By 2021, Poh said STB will be able to host and distribute high quality AR content that the industry can tap on freely.
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